South Korea launched its first lunar mission on Friday, with the big goal of landing a probe on the moon by 2030.
The South Korean Lunar Pathfinder probe, nicknamed Danuri, which means “enjoy the moon,” was launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 from the North American space station Cape Canaveral, Florida at 08:08 a.m. Friday, South Korea’s science ministry said.
The 678 kg Danuri separated from the projectile about 40 minutes after launch and began contacting the landing station around 9:40 am.
“Confirming the analysis of the information received… Danuri was operating normally.”Vice Minister of Science Oh Tae-seog said at the press conference held after the launch, announcing that the lunar probe has built a gravitational pull toward the moon.
It will enter the lunar orbit in December The ministry said before starting a year-long observation mission, including searching for a landing site and testing space Internet technology.
If successful, South Korea will become the seventh largest lunar explorer in the world and the fourth in Asia, after China, Japan and India. The launch was initially scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed due to a maintenance issue with the SpaceX rocket.
South Korea is accelerating its space program, with the goal of sending a probe to the moon by 2030. It has also joined the Artemis project, with the goal of Return to the moon by 2024.
In July, South Korea conducted a second test launch of its home-made Nuri missile, and reported its first successful launch of a solid-fuel space rocket in March as part of efforts to launch spy satellites.
Space launches have always been a sensitive issue on the Korean PeninsulaNorth Korea faces international action over its nuclear weapons program.
In March, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for the expansion of a missile launch site to advance its space ambitions, after South Korea and the United States accused the nation of repeatedly testing a new ICBM, under the guise of launching a new ICBM. Space ship.
South Korea says its space program is for peaceful and scientific purposes And that any military use of technology, such as spy satellites, is for self-defense.
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