From South Korea to the Moon: “Danuri” launches successfully

by | Aug 5, 2022 | exploration, Launches, Satellites, Science, Seradata News

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, USA at 2308 GMT on 4 August. The vehicle was carrying Danuri (meaning “enjoy the Moon”) – better known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO). As South Korea’s first Lunar exploration program, KPLO will be placed into a Lunar polar orbit approximately 100km above the Moon.

KPLO carries five payloads from KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) and one from NASA. It is equipped with a KAIST-supplied high‐resolution camera, widefield polarized camera, lunar gamma‐ray spectrometer, moon magnetic field detector, and space Internet) the NASA development payload (shadow camera) noted above.

Falcon 9 launches DANURI (KPLO). Courtesy: SpaceX

Following the launch, the Falcon 9 first stage B1052 successfully separated from the second stage at T+2.39 (two minutes, 39 seconds) before landing on the drone barge “Just Read the Instructions” which was stationed downrange in the Atlantic Ocean at around T+9.00. This was the sixth successful mission for the B1052 reusable booster.

KPLO was successfully deployed from the Falcon 9 second stage at T+40.23. The spacecraft is expected to reach Lunar orbit around mid-December 2022 marking South Korea’s advance into planetary exploration.

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