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11 December 2023

S.Korea's lunar orbiter Danuri enters orbit of the moon


South Korea's unmanned space vehicle Danuri has successfully entered the orbit of the moon earlier than planned, Yonhap news agency quoted the science ministry as saying Wednesday.

Danuri, also known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, was captured by the moon's gravity on Tuesday and began rotation, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

It was achieved after three rounds of lunar orbit insertion (LOI) manoeuvre since the first one was held on 17th December.

Danuri was scheduled to achieve the lunar orbit on Thursday after performing a total of five rounds of LOI manoeuvre, the adjustment process for a space vehicle to lower its speed and commit itself to the gravity of the moon.

The space vehicle will measure terrain, magnetic strengths, gamma rays and other traits of the lunar surface using six onboard instruments during its yearlong mission starting in January. The orbiter will also identify potential landing sites for future lunar missions.

Danuri, South Korea's first space mission beyond Earth's orbit, was launched in August aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the US state of Florida for South Korea's first lunar mission. It has travelled a cumulative 5.94 million kilometres so far.