Enjoying the Moon, the new space objective in Seoul?

South Korea's first lunar probe, Danuri, departed Thursday night from Cape Canaveral in Florida for a one-year mission, a key milestone for Seoul's space ambitions, which plans to land a spacecraft on the Moon. by 2030. The Danuri orbiter – a contraction of “Dal”, which means Moon, and “Nuri” which means enjoy – lifted off at 00:08 GMT Friday aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the South Ministry said. Korean Science.

The spacecraft is due to insert into the Moon's orbit in December.

Deputy Science Minister Oh Tae-sok said the mission was going smoothly and researchers were already communicating with Danuri through the US Space Agency (Nasa) Deep Space Antenna in Canberra, in Australia.

"Analysis of information received by satellite confirmed that the Danuri solar panel was properly unfolded to start generating power," he told reporters.

That the beginning

“Danuri is just the start.

If we are even more determined and committed to the development of technologies for space travel, we will be able to reach Mars, asteroids, etc.

in the near future,” said Lee Sang-ryool, president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), in a video released before the launch.

He hailed "a very important milestone in the history of Korean space exploration."

During his mission, Danuri will use six different instruments, including an ultra-sensitive camera provided by NASA which will be used in particular to study the surface of the ground in order to identify landing sites for future missions.

Danuri must also test, in a world first according to the South Korean government, a new networked space communications system resistant to disturbances.

The probe will also attempt to set up a wireless Internet environment intended to connect satellites or exploration vehicles.

This wireless connection in space will be tested by streaming the song "Dynamite" by cult K-pop group BTS.

"Major" moment

Another instrument, ShadowCam, will record images of regions of the Moon that are permanently in shadow.

Scientists hope to find hidden sources of water and ice in these dark and cold regions located near the poles.

"If this mission is successful, South Korea will become the seventh country in the world to launch an unmanned probe to the Moon," a KARI official said.

"This is a pivotal moment for South Korea's space development program, and we hope to continue contributing to the global understanding of the Moon with what Danuri will discover," he added.

According to South Korean scientists, Danuri – which took seven years to build – will pave the way for more ambitious goals.

South Korea plans to land a spacecraft on lunar soil by 2030.


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