South Korean spacecraft feeding for Cape Canaveral's flight to the moon - Spaceflight Now

South Korean spacecraft feeding for Cape Canaveral’s flight to the moon – Spaceflight Now

The Korean Lunar Pathfinder Orbiter is being tested in South Korea before being shipped to Florida in preparation for launch. 1 credit

A South Korean spacecraft scheduled to launch to the moon next week from Cape Canaveral has been loaded with the fuel it needs to maneuver into low-altitude lunar orbit for imaging and scientific observation.

The Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, or KPLO, spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 7:08 p.m. EDT (2308 GMT) next Thursday, August 4, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Mission officials said earlier this week that the launch was delayed by two days to allow SpaceX time to complete additional work on the Falcon 9 rocket.

Les techniciens et ingénieurs travaillant à l’intérieur de l’installation de traitement de la charge utile de SpaceX ont récemment terminé le ravitaillement en carburant de la sonde lunaire coréenne, après la livraison du vaisseau la Corédé le spatial 6 July.

The spacecraft was loaded with hydrazine fuel inside a SpaceX clean room. The South Korean engineers who traveled to the launch base with the KPLO spacecraft also conducted the final tests of the probe, the first South Korean mission to the moon and the first adventure in space exploration.

The 1,495-pound (678-kilogram) spacecraft was to be encased within the Falcon 9 payload hull after refueling. The airframe will protect the spacecraft during the final stage of launch preparations and during the first minutes of the launch itself.

Next, SpaceX will move the payload unit from the processing facility to the hangar of the Falcon 9 rocket a few miles away, where ground crews will attach the spacecraft inside the rocket’s nose cone to the Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage.

The entire rocket will be deployed and lifted vertically to Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral. The KPLO mission is one of two launches currently scheduled for next Thursday at the Florida Spaceport. An Atlas 5 rocket from the United Launch Alliance is expected to lift off with a US satellite approximately 12.5 hours before the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket on the KPLO mission.

Part of the purpose of the KPLO mission is the name. The mission is an exploratory, or precursor, of South Korea’s future space exploration ambitions, which includes an automated lunar landing in the early 2030s. South Korea has also signed to join the NASA-led Artemis Accords and can contribute to the US space agency’s human lunar exploration program.

The KPLO mission was also named Danuri, which is a combination of the words “dal” and “nurida” in Korean, which means “enjoy the moon.”

“The basic idea of ​​this mission is technology development and demonstration,” said Eunhyeuk Kim of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. Moreover, through the use of scientific instruments, we hope to obtain useful data on the lunar surface.

The expedition carries six science instruments and technology demonstration payloads.

KPLO will test a new South Korean spacecraft platform designed for deep space operations, as well as new communications, control and navigation capabilities, including validating an “interplanetary Internet” connection using a perturbation-resistant network.

The mission’s science goals include mapping the lunar surface to help choose future landing sites, studying resources such as water ice on the moon, and exploring the radioactive environment near the moon.

The $180 million (233.3 billion won) mission to the Moon will take off on a low-energy, fuel-efficient ballistic transport trajectory, one launched by NASA’s CAPSTONE small spacecraft, a technology demonstration mission launched last month on the Rocket Lab mission and expected to orbit around the moon in november

If KPLO is launched in the first week of August, then its lunar arrival date is set for December 16. Falcon 9 will launch the spacecraft on a trajectory that will take it near the L1 Lagrange point, a gravitationally stable location approximately 1 million miles (1.5 million km) from Earth’s diurnal side, about four times farther than the Moon.

Gravitational forces will naturally pull the spacecraft back to Earth and the Moon, where the Korean probe will be picked up in orbit on Dec. 16. A series of thruster maneuvers with the spacecraft’s thrusters will direct KPLO into a circular, low-altitude orbit of approximately 60 miles. (100 km) from the surface of the moon until New Year’s Eve.

After a month of commissioning and testing, the spacecraft’s one-year initial science mission is scheduled to begin around February 1. If the vehicle has enough fuel, Kim said, mission officials could consider an extended mission from 2024.

One of KPLO’s mission payloads, or Danuri, is an American-made tool called ShadowCam.

Derived from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter main camera, ShadowCam will look inside dark craters near the moon’s poles, where previous missions have discovered evidence of water ice deposits. The NASA-funded ShadowCam is hundreds of times more sensitive than the LRO’s camera, allowing it to collect high-resolution, high-resolution images of the still-dark interiors of craters using reflected light.

NASA also provides tracking and communications support for the KPLO mission through Deep Space Network antennas in California, Spain and Australia. South Korea’s space agency Carrie also has its own deep space communications antenna, but it does not provide continuous coverage of NASA’s global network.

South Korea began developing the KPLO mission in 2016 for its planned launch in 2020, but officials delayed the mission after the spacecraft exceeded its original launch weight, and engineers needed more time to complete detailed design work.

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