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SpaceX launches South Korea’s first moon mission, an orbiter named Danuri


South Korea is headed for the moon.

Last night, the country launched its first-ever lunar mission—in fact, its first-ever mission beyond low Earth orbit. Formerly called the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), the mission, managed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), is now named Danuri, a play on the Korean words for “moon” and “enjoy.” Its primary goal is to test South Korea’s lunar spacecraft technology before it makes a bid to land on the surface, tentatively in 2030 if all goes well.

Danuri launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 7:08 p.m. EDT on August 4, with the rocket’s booster landing successfully on the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” just a few minutes after liftoff.

The spacecraft is now on a very circuitous route to the moon. It will first fly towards the sun before ...


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