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South Korea launches first lunar orbiter

People watch a television screen showing a live footage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching with South Korea's first lunar orbiter Danuri onboard from Cape Canaveral in Florida, at a railway station in Seoul on August 5, 2022. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP)
People watch a television screen showing a live footage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching with South Korea's first lunar orbiter Danuri onboard from Cape Canaveral in Florida, at a railway station in Seoul on August 5, 2022. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

SEOUL: South Korea's first-ever lunar orbiter was launched from the US on Thursday on a year-long mission to observe the Moon, live video showed, with a payload including a new disruption-tolerant network for sending data from space.


Danuri -- a portmanteau of the Korean words for "Moon" and "enjoy" -- was carried on a Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida by Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX. It aims to reach the Moon by mid-December.


"This is a very significant milestone in the history of Korean space exploration," said Lee Sang-ryool, president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, in a video shown prior to the launch.


"Danuri is just the beginning, and if we are more determined and committed to technology development for space travel, we will be able to reach Mars, asteroids, and so on in the near future."


During the year-long mission, Danuri will use six different instruments, including a highly sensitive camera provided by Nasa, to conduct research, including investigating the lunar surface to identify potential landing sites for future missions.


One of the instruments will evaluate disruption-tolerant, network-based space communications, which, according to South Korea's science ministry, is a world first.


Danuri will also try to develop a wireless Internet environment to link satellites or exploration spacecraft, they added. - AFP


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