(ANSA) – Seoul, Aug. 05 – A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying South Korea’s first lunar probe blasted off from Cape Canaveral in the United States, opening a new chapter in the country’s space program.
The Korean lunar rover Pathfinder, also known as Danuri, was launched at 7:08 pm (Florida time). The Danuri is expected to launch from the rocket approximately 40 minutes after liftoff at 1,656 kilometers and travel on a pre-programmed, low-power, fuel-efficient Lunar Ballistic Transfer (BLT) trajectory to the Moon. The journey to the moon is expected to take 4 and a half months. It is expected that the first contact between the probe and the station on Earth will be made approximately one hour after launch. In the afternoon, the South Korean government will officially announce whether Danuri has successfully reached the intended path.
The launch, originally scheduled for two days, was postponed due to a missile maintenance problem.
Danuri represents South Korea’s first space mission outside Earth’s orbit. The goal of the mission is to measure the terrain, magnetic forces, gamma rays and other details of the lunar surface using six instruments on board. The mission will last for a year starting at the end of December, after a 4½-month lunar orbit journey. Danuri will also identify potential landing sites for future lunar missions.
NASA has been deeply involved in the South Korea mission with KARI, with whom it has had an agreement to work together since December 2016. NASA has collaborated in the various stages of mission design and will provide access to the Antennas Deep Space Network Agency around the world to track the spacecraft. (Dealing).
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