Here’s how to watch South Korea’s first lunar launch

South Korea joins the list of nations with ambitious plans in space and aims for the moon on Thursday.

His first lunar spacecraft, called Danuri, carries a science payload that will study the moon’s magnetic field, measure amounts of elements and molecules like uranium, water and helium-3, and photograph the dark craters at the poles where the sun never shines.

Danuri will be carried into orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Launch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. Eastern Time. SpaceX will provide brief coverage of the launch starting at 7:00 p.m. which you can watch in the video player embedded above. The South Korean space agency will also provide a Korean-language live stream.

Weather forecasts give an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions. If necessary, SpaceX has an additional launch opportunity on Friday.

Originally known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, the mission has now been given the name Danuri, a portmanteau of the Korean words for “moon” and “enjoy”. It will be South Korea’s first space mission to leave low Earth orbit.

Scientific instruments include a magnetometer, a gamma ray spectrometer and three cameras. NASA provided one of the cameras, ShadowCam, which is sensitive enough to catch the few photons that bounce off the terrain into the moon’s dark, permanently shadowed craters. Located at the moon’s poles, these craters remain cold forever, below minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and contain water ice that has accumulated over the eons.

The ice could provide a frozen history of the 4.5-billion-year-old solar system and a wealth of resources for future visiting astronauts. Such ice can also be extracted and melted to provide water and broken down into oxygen and hydrogen, which would provide both air for astronauts to breathe and rocket fuel for travelers wishing to launch from the moon to other destinations.

South Korea is developing its own missiles. His first design, Naro-1, successfully reached orbit on the third attempt in 2013. Since then, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute — South Korea’s equivalent of NASA — has shifted its efforts to Nuri, a larger three-stage rocket. The second Nuri flight in June successfully put several satellites into orbit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.