Danuri, which is about to launch, is conducting a final ispection before being transferred to the launch site.
/Extracted from Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)
On June 21st, a new path to space opened in South Korea. Based on the success of the second launch of the Korean-style projectile "Nuri," Korea’s new step toward becoming a space powerhouse has begun. On August 5th, Korea’s first lunar probe, “Danuri," was launched successfully from the United States (US) on SpaceX. It is also expected to fly into space for four and a half months. Danuri is the first Korean project to explore around the moon beyond Earth's orbit and land on the moon. It is expected to be an opportunity to acquire new knowledge of the universe and to venture into unknown space.
Korea's first lunar orbiter Danuri was successfully launched
Following the success of Nuri, the first lunar orbiter Danuri, built with our own technology, was launched into space at 8:08 A.M. on August 5th. Danuri is a combination of pure Korean words "moon" and "nuri," meaning "hoping to enjoy lunar exploration to the fullest until returning from the moon" and "wishing for the success of the first lunar exploration."
Danuri entered space after completing the first and second stages of separation over 40 minutes after launch, and the initial process went smoothly. SpaceX of the US, which oversaw the launch, broadcasted on YouTube showing the Falcon 9 projectile carrying Danuri flying into the sky from the 40th launch pad of the Space Force base in Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX confirmed that the first and second stages were separated after two minutes and 40 seconds of the launch and the pairing was separated after three minutes and 13 seconds. Finally, after 40 minutes and 25 seconds of launch, the Falcon 9 projectile announced that Danuri was separated from the second stage and finally placed in space. After leaving the Earth, Danuri will enter orbit around the moon in December. Even after successful entry, the researchers should continue to study trajectory correction maneuvers for error correction over the next five months so that Danuri can follow the trajectory well. However, the trajectory entry is only the first gateway to the plan since it takes almost five months to settle on the target orbit after launch. Therefore, even if everything goes smoothly, the final success cannot be declared until the end of this year.
Danuri plans to find the landing site of South Korea's lunar lander, which will be launched in 2030, and cooperate with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to check whether there is ice on the moon. Therefore, Danuri can be seen as a stepping stone to orbit, and as the first step for a long-term project to explore the moon.
Until the launch of Danuri, South Korea has made a lot of effort
Korea's first conceived the idea of space development in 1996. At a time when advanced countries such as the US and Russia launched rockets and probes, Korea did not have a specific plan due to the lack of technology skills. Therefore, the first mid to long-term basic plan for space development was announced in 1996 with the aim of advancing Korea’s space industry to the top 10 in the world by 2015. However, in August 1998, North Korea launched the first long-range missile, Taepodong-1, claiming that it succeeded in launching its first satellite, and South Korea made a revision to raise it to the top 10 in the world within five years, from 2010 to 2015.
However, the US imposed sanctions immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in late 2001. Also, during the development of the Naro in August 2002, Russia, which was cooperating with Korea, stopped all development cooperation. Eventually, Korea had to develop the Naro with its own technology. As a result, both launches failed in 2009 and 2010, but on January 30th, 2013, it succeeded in placing Naro on a low-orbital space orbit, and according to the revision of the Korean projectile development plan, it started the Nuri project after Naro.
The Nuri development project suffered from a lack of progress until the 4th year. However, with Russia transferring its rocket technology to South Korea, development could be facilitated by delivering the "Angara Engine" of the advanced multi-stage combustion cycle. Thanks to this, the Nuri program was carried out until the first launch on October 21st, 2021. However, as the liquid engine mounted in the third stage ended its combustion earlier than the target time, the Nuri crashed into the South China Sea, Australia, after about 45 minutes. Afterwards, the engine was revised, and the second which was attempted on June 21st, 2022, about eight months later, was successfully carried in an actual satellite.
The goal of the launch of the Korean-style projectile, Nuri, is to develop its own space launch vehicle capable of putting a 1.5 ton satellite into the solar synchronous orbit to secure independent space transport capabilities. Through the success of Nuri, Korea has also secured its own space development capabilities and voluntarily developed them. 10 countries have self-propelled space launch vehicles, of which only six have successfully launched more than one ton of practical satellites, excluding Britain, North Korea, Israel, and Iran. With the success of the Nuri launch, South Korea has become the 7th country to develop a 75 ton medium and large-sized liquid engine independently.
The independent development of projectiles is significant in that it serves as an opportunity to open a new path in terms of industry and security. Given that all the countries around the Korean Peninsula have space industrial powers, Korea's independent projectiles will increase its national status. It can also be seen as entering a new era in the space industry in terms of securing basic resources, including space transport capabilities.
Space development is just a beginning. Korea, a latecomer in space development, has now set the stage for chasing the first-runners with the success of the launch of Nuri. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute aims to develop its space transport capability by launching Nuri more than four times by 2027, deploying more than 10 satellites. It also plans to launch unstaffed lunar landers with Korea’s own independent technology by 2031, through the development of next-generation projectiles. Also, the Moon will be an outpost for human space development. The construction of the Moon Orbit Space Station, a stepping stone to Mars, will also take place soon, and space tourism will also be activated soon. As a result, the whole nation is looking forward to seeing many changes in Korea’s economy, discovering new resources, and these things will make Korea a space industry powerhouse.
Jung Ji-yeon firstname.lastname@example.org
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