South Korea’s lunar orbiter is almost ready and should finally start in a year, thanks in part to the help of the US space agency NASA. The South Korean Ministry of Science announced this on Monday, reports the Korea Times, among others. After a precision camera from the USA had been connected to the device, the lunar probe should be ready in October. This will be followed by extensive tests before the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) is then launched in August 2022 with a SpaceX rocket. The orbiter should then explore the moon for at least a year.
Left behind in the new space race
The KPLO is South Korea’s first moon mission, the start was actually planned for December 2018. The later planned date for this year could not be kept either. Now people in Seoul are confident that the time will finally come in 2022. With the lunar probe, South Korea wants to prove that the fourth largest Asian economy can at least keep up with the pioneers Japan, China and India. The Ministry of Research gave according to the reports now also announced that NASA has promised further support, including with regard to navigation and communication with the orbiter.
In the spring, South Korea signed the Artemis Accords with which NASA is accompanying the program for the manned return to the moon and regulating peaceful exploration and economic development of space. The reports suggest that this step has given the decisive boost to enable preparations to be completed soon. Just a few months ago, the country also presented a model of the first completely self-developed Nuri missile (“누리”, Korean for “world”). It is scheduled to start for the first time this year as part of a test. In the future, South Korea wants to secure a share of the satellite launches business.