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Fast facts about S. Korea's 1st lunar orbiter Danuri and its mission

All News 08:16 August 05, 2022

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- The following are fast facts about the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter -- known as Danuri in Korean -- which was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the U.S. state of Florida on Friday (Korean time) for South Korea's first lunar orbiter mission.

-- Danuri is a portmanteau of the Korean words for moon and enjoy. It was proposed by a doctorate student in new materials engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and was chosen among 62,719 submissions in a national naming contest.

-- Weighing 678 kilograms, Danuri is a cubic-shaped spacecraft with two solar arrays. For propulsion, it uses four high-powered thrusters and is also equipped with eight altitude control thrusters.

-- Danuri marks South Korea's first space mission to travel beyond Earth's orbit.

-- The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) project cost 236.7 billion won (US$180.5 million) and has had the participation of 40 private companies, 13 universities and six government-funded research centers in South Korea.

-- KARI first conceived the mission in 2013 as part of a long-term plan for space development. It is called a pathfinder to highlight South Korea's goal of advancing its space development, including a plan to send a lunar landing module to the moon in 2031.

This file photo provided by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute shows aerospace engineers inspecting Danuri, South Korea's first lunar orbiter that was launched into space on Aug. 4, 2022, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the U.S. state of Florida. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

-- The spacecraft is scheduled to reach and start circling its designated orbit -- an altitude of 100 kilometers above the lunar surface -- in late December after traveling on a low-energy, fuel-efficient ballistic lunar transfer trajectory for 4 1/2 months.

-- Danuri is carrying six scientific instruments, including an ultra-sensitive camera provided by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and will measure terrains, magnetic strengths, gamma rays and other traits of the lunar surface during its yearlong mission. It will also identify potential landing sites for future lunar missions.

-- A delay/disruption tolerant network instrument will be charged with testing whether smooth internet connection between the Earth and moon is possible. One of the pieces of content chosen to be digitally transferred is the BTS song "Dynamite," the first K-pop song to land at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

-- KARI and NASA first discussed cooperation for the project in 2015 and signed a formal agreement to work together in December of 2016. NASA has shared experience in designing the missions and will provide access to the agency's Deep Space Network antennas across the globe to track the spacecraft.


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