South Korea launched the first lunar orbiter Friday. It is increasing its focus on space programs and aiming to land a probe onto the moon by 2030.
According to South Korea’s science ministry, the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter was nicknamed Danuri (meaning “enjoy and enjoy the Moon”), launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket at 8:08 AM on Friday (2308 GMT Thursday).
About 40 minutes after launch, the 678 kg (1.495 lb.) Danuri separated and began communication with a ground station at 9:40 a.m.
“Analysis… Danuri was operating normally,” Oh Tae-seog, Vice Science Minister, stated in a briefing. He announced that the orbiter had set a course towards the moon.
The ministry stated that it will be entering the moon’s orbit in December, before beginning a yearlong observation mission including searching for a landing spot and testing space internet technology.
South Korea, if it succeeds in its mission, will be the seventh lunar explorer on the planet and the fourth Asian explorer, after China, Japan, and India.
postponed due to a SpaceX rocket maintenance problem.
Launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but it was postponed due to a SpaceX rocket maintenance problem.
South Korea is accelerating its space program with the aim of sending a probe on the moon by 2030. South Korea has joined the Artemis space project, which aims to return to the moon by 2024.
South Korea conducted a second test flight of the Nuri rocket it had built domestically in July. It also reported that its March launch of a solid fuel space-launch rocket was successful as part of its efforts to launch spy satellites.
Space launches have been a sensitive topic on the Korean peninsula. North Korea is currently under international sanctions for its nuclear-armed missile programme.
Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, called for an expansion of its space rocket launch location to further its space ambitions. This was after South Korea and America accused it of testing an intercontinental ballistic missile in the name of launching a space vehicle.