The KPLO South Korean probe is on its way to the Moon

The KPLO South Korean probe is on its way to the Moon

This morning, using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, a small satellite began its journey to the Moon. This is Danuri, also called KPLO. This is the second mission in 2022, headed for our natural satellite, following the NASA CAPSTONE probe, which went on June 28, and the Falcon 9 rocket took off from launch site No. 40 at Cape Canaveral when the clock went through 3:08 a.m. on August 5 in Moscow.

This is not a single launch because Danuri will be the second of many moon missions to take place in the coming months and years, and NASA has already announced that the recovery of SLS for the Artemis-1 mission, scheduled for 29 August, is on schedule.

Danuri's launch was not the only event that took place yesterday, and six different missions took place within 24 hours, the first of which took off for the TECIS mission at 7.10 a.m. on 4 August, followed by the launch of an Electron missile by Rocket Lab, which was to launch a satellite of the National Intelligence Agency from New Zealand, followed by an Atlas V missile from Cape Canaveral from ULA, on board the SBIRS GEO-6 satellite.

Although it was not an orbital launch, the New Shepard ship Blue Origin also took off at 17:56 from Texas, with six passengers, and then the Chinese Space Agency took up another Changzheng, this time in version 2F, with a secret space plane on board, all demonstrating an increase in space activities by national agencies and private organizations.

Falcon 9 took a little over 40 minutes to get into orbit a 678 kg satellite developed by South Korea, the second stage of which was 710 km high, with a speed of over 36,000 km/h. This is only the beginning of a long journey, which will last four and a half months, and its ultimate goal is a circular orbit around the moon 100 km high over its poles.

In fact, KPLO will be moving in a special trajectory to reach our natural satellite designed to save up to 25% of the probe's fuel. This trajectory is called the Ballistic Lunar Transfer and uses the gravitational interaction of a system formed by the Earth, the Sun and the Moon.

Danuri will reach the L1 Lagrangian point, which is 1.5 million km away from the Earth, where the gravity of our planet and the Moon will force the satellite to change its course. KPLO will use its engines to perform corrective manoeuvres during the journey and, after an overflight around the Moon, to gradually increase orbit.

There are six different scientific instruments on board KPLO, five of which were developed by the Korea Space Agency and one by NASA.

The South Korean probe began its journey on the Falcon 9 with serial number B1052. Thus, the launch vehicle successfully completed its sixth mission. SpaceX originally used the Falcon 9 rocket in 2019 as a side accelerator for the Falcon Heavy, but in February of this year, after some conversion, the company began to fly it individually.

Nine minutes after take-off, the B1052 landed on the starship Just Red The Instruments, which was 640 km away. Unlike previous landings, the launch vehicle did not return perfectly to the centre of the barge. During a live broadcast, it was seen that Falcon 9 was not aligned with JRTI, which even suggested that the launch vehicle was at sea. Fortunately, this was not the case, and SpaceX was able to celebrate its 60th successful landing in a row. It was also mission number 34, performed in this 2022, which continued to improve the annual launch record.

Thanks to a special orbit, the second stage will also continue to move towards the L1 point along with KPLO and then continue to move around the Sun. The second stage will also include a special memorial board. This is a puzzle composed of photographs of those who participated in the Refferal Tesla programme. The electric car company gave those who purchased one of their cars the opportunity to send a photograph, which will then be sent to space. The puzzle shows Tesla Roadstar, launched to Mars during the first Falcon Heavy flight.