As its orbiter boarded a SpaceX Falcon-9, South Korea became the seventh nation in the world to launch a mission to the Moon. Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station saw the launch of the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, also known as Danuri.
South Korea, which just achieved a space rocket launch capability, is conducting its maiden lunar expedition. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute and NASA have collaboratively developed the lunar mission (KARI). The Danuri mission includes a boxy, solar-powered satellite that will skim about 62 miles (100 kilometres) over the lunar surface while collecting geology and other data from a low polar orbit for at least a year.
To save fuel, the spaceship is travelling on a long, circuitous route to the Moon, where it will eventually land in mid-December. If successful, the spacecraft would orbit the Moon with other new missions headed there, including Chandrayaan-2 from India and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) from NASA.
The spacecraft, which cost around $180 million to build, is carrying six scientific instruments, including a camera for NASA. Its purpose is to look inside the ice-filled, permanently shadowed craters at the lunar poles. Due to evidence of frozen water, NASA prefers the lunar South Pole for future human colonies.