South Korea launches first Moon mission on SpaceX rocket

South Korea launches first Moon mission on SpaceX rocket.

South Korea launched a lunar orbiter to seek out potential landing sites, joining the rush to the moon. To save fuel, the satellite SpaceX launched on Thursday (August 4, 2022) travels a long, circuitous route and will land in December. 

If successful, it will join US and Indian spacecraft currently orbiting the moon and a Chinese rover investigating the moon’s far side.

Several commercial enterprises in the US and abroad, together with India, Russia, and Japan, will undertake additional moon missions later this year or next. Next is NASA. It will launch its massive moon rocket in late August.

A boxy, solar-powered satellite that can hover barely 100 kilometers above the lunar surface is the centerpiece of South Korea’s USD 180 million projects, the nation’s first move in lunar exploration.

Researchers hope to gather geology and other data from this low polar orbit for at least a year.

In six weeks, it is South Korea’s second attempt.

South Korea used its rocket to successfully place a group of satellites into orbit above Earth in June. However, the test satellite could not enter orbit during November’s first attempt.

And in May, South Korea became a part of a consortium led by NASA to explore the moon with humans in the next decades. The start of NASA’s Artemis program’s maiden launch is planned for the end of this month.

Before a crew climbs in two years, the plan is to launch an empty crew capsule around the moon and back to test the systems.

Danuri, a Korean word that means “enjoy the moon,” is transporting six scientific tools, one of which is a camera for NASA. Its purpose is to look inside the ice-filled, permanently shadowed craters near the lunar poles.

Due to indications of frozen water, NASA prefers the lunar south pole for future human colonies.

By 2030, South Korea intends to send its robotic probe into space and land it on the moon.

Danuri was launched by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral just before dusk. It was the US’s third space launch of the day.

At dawn in Florida, United Launch Alliance launched an Atlas V rocket carrying an infrared missile-detection satellite for the US Space Force. Then, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket firm from West Texas launched six people on a brief trip to space.

Rocket Lab launched a tiny secret satellite from New Zealand for the US National Reconnaissance Office.