A SpaceX rocket will launch South Korea’s first lunar mission into space today, and you can watch the event live.
The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) mission is scheduled to launch at 7:08 p.m. EDT Thursday, August 4 (2308 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Space Force Base Cape Canaveral on the coast of South Korea. Florida. The spacecraft’s journey to the moon is expected to take four and a half months.
SpaceX usually broadcasts launches on its YouTube channel (opens in a new tab) about 15 to 20 minutes before takeoff. If the launch is successful, the broadcast will go through the Falcon 9’s first stage landing attempt atop a drone in the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
Related: South Korea’s moonshot will explore lunar magnetic mysteries and more
KPLO is also named “Danuri”, a fusion of two Korean words that mean “moon” and “enjoy”.
The Lunar Orbiter includes six payloads designed to study the moon’s magnetism and search for water. Five were developed by Korean universities and research organizations, and the last one is from NASA.
NASA’s instrument is ShadowCam, which aims to capture shadow regions on the moon using high-resolution equipment comprising a camera, telescope and sensors. It was co-developed by Arizona State University and San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems. The instrument’s optical camera is based on the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), but is 200 times more sensitive than any camera that has visited the moon so far. day.
Danuri’s primary mission is to orbit the moon for at least a year, searching for key lunar resources like water ice, helium-3, uranium, silicon, and aluminum. It also aims to create a topographic map to identify potential moon landing locations.
South Korea aims to put a robotic lander on the moon by 2030 and launch an asteroid sample return mission further into the future. The mission to the asteroid follows similar efforts by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx and Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft.