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‘Danuri’: Korea launches first lunar orbiter as space program advances


Seoul, South Korea
CNN

south Korea launched its first moon mission on Thursday when its homegrown lunar orbiter lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on a SpaceX rocket.

A live broadcast of Friday morning’s launch in South Korea shows the orbiter “Danuri” – which means “enjoy the moon” – successfully separating. from the Falcon 9 rocket.

Developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the 678-kilogram (about 1,500-pound) carrier has six payloads, including Korean-made equipment.

It is expected to enter the moon’s orbit in December before commencing a year-long observing mission, where it will search for possible landing sites for future missions, progressing conducting scientific research on the lunar environment and testing space Internet technology, the Ministry of Science and Communications said in a statement.

If successful, South Korea will become the seventh lunar explorer in the world and the fourth in Asia, after China, Japan and India.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying South Korea's first lunar orbiter.

Friday’s launch comes as South Korea is accelerating its burgeoning space program and looking to send a probe to the moon by 2030.

In June, the country successfully launched a home-grown satellite into orbit Missile Nuri in a major step for its space program.

Space launches have long been a sensitive issue on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea faces international sanctions over its nuclear-armed ballistic missile program.

In March, North Korea called for an expansion of its space rocket launch site to boost its space ambitions, after South Korea and the United States accused them of testing a new intercontinental ballistic missile under the guise of an intercontinental ballistic missile. launch a space vehicle.

South Korea says its space program is for peaceful and scientific purposes and any military activity that uses the technology, such as in spy satellites, is defensive.

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