South Korea launched its first space mission to the moon on Thursday, the Danuri rover, which is set to enter the satellite’s orbit after lifting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX rocket.
Developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the 678-kilogram craft carries six payloads, including Korean-made equipment, reports CNN.
It is expected to enter lunar orbit in December, before beginning a year-long observation mission, during which it will search for possible landing sites for future missions, conduct scientific research on the lunar environment and test space internet technology. the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT said in a statement.
South Korea’s first moon mission
If successful, South Korea will become the seventh nation to explore the Moon and the fourth from Asia, after China, Japan and India.
Friday’s launch comes as South Korea accelerates its booming space program and seeks to send a probe to the moon by 2030.
In June, the country took another important step
In June, the country successfully launched satellites into orbit using its indigenous Nuri rocket, an important step for its space program.
Space launches have long been a sensitive topic on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea faces international sanctions over its nuclear-tipped ballistic missile program.
South Korea says its space program is for peaceful and scientific purposes, and any military use of the technology, such as for spy satellites, is for its defense.