It’s great to see that not only NASA is interested in exploring the Moon as much as possible. South Korea also has plans to study our natural satellite up-close since it successfully launched its lunar orbiter on Thursday. It will be the first Moon mission of the Asian country, and it’s known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), or simply Danuri.
To be more precise, a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX is responsible for taking South Korea’s orbiter into space a few days ago, according to Sky&Telescope.
After the launch, the first stage booster of the Falcon 9 rocket came back to Earth in order to be used again in the future. It landed on a drone ship.
SpaceX’s YouTube channel posted the above footage, and it also provided a relevant description:
On Thursday, August 4 at 7:08 p.m. ET, Falcon 9 launched KPLO to a ballistic lunar transfer orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
This was the sixth launch and landing of this booster, which previously supported the launch of Arabsat-6A, STP-2, COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2, and two Starlink missions.
The purpose of the Danuri mission is to look for minerals and various elements on the surface of the Moon. Scientists hope to find surface water ice, aluminum, or helium-3.
The story behind the Danuri term will probably amuse you. It refers to the Korean words dal and nurida, which together mean “enjoy the Moon.”
NASA even hopes to return humans to the Moon along with the upcoming Artemis mission. To be more precise, the American space agency wants to send the first woman and first person of color to our natural satellite’s surface. The mission is scheduled to start in 2025.