CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — South Korea joined the stampede to the moon Thursday with the launch of a lunar orbiter that can scout out future touchdown spots.

The satellite tv for pc launched by SpaceX is taking a protracted, roundabout path to preserve gas and can arrive in December.

If profitable, it should be part of spacecraft from the U.S. and India already working across the moon, and a Chinese language rover exploring the moon’s far aspect.

India, Russia and Japan have new moon missions launching later this 12 months or subsequent, as do a slew of personal firms within the U.S. and elsewhere. And NASA is subsequent up with the debut of its mega moon rocket in late August.

South Korea’s $180 million mission — the nation’s first step in lunar exploration — encompasses a boxy, solar-powered satellite tv for pc designed to skim simply 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the lunar floor. Scientists count on to gather geologic and different knowledge for no less than a 12 months from this low polar orbit.

It’s South Korea’s second shot at house in six weeks.

In June, South Korea efficiently launched a package deal of satellites into orbit round Earth for the primary time utilizing its personal rocket. The primary attempt final fall fizzled, with the take a look at satellite tv for pc failing to achieve orbit.

And in Could, South Korea joined a NASA-led coalition to discover the moon with astronauts within the coming years and many years. NASA is concentrating on the tip of this month for the primary launch in its Artemis program. The objective is to ship an empty crew capsule across the moon and again to check the programs earlier than a crew climbs aboard in two years.

Danuri — Korean for “benefit from the moon” — is carrying six science devices, together with a digicam for NASA. It is designed to see into the completely shadowed, ice-filled craters on the lunar poles. NASA favors the lunar south pole for future astronaut outposts due to proof of frozen water.

South Korea plans to land its personal spacecraft on the moon — a robotic probe — by 2030 or so.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying Danuri took off from Cape Canaveral near sundown. It was the third spaceshot of the day from the U.S.

United Launch Alliance kicked issues off at dawn in Florida, launching an Atlas V rocket with an infrared missile-detection satellite tv for pc for the U.S. Area Drive. Then Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket firm despatched six passengers on a fast trip to house from West Texas.

Internationally, the corporate Rocket Lab launched a small labeled satellite tv for pc from New Zealand for the U.S. Nationwide Reconnaissance Workplace.

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The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Schooling. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.


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