Korea to become latest country to reach the moon, launch set for August 4
South Korea will become the seventh country to send an unmanned mission to the moon when it launches the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KLPO) on August 4. The orbiter will be launched aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and will take off from Cape Canaveral in America on August 4.
Reported by the Indian Express, the KPLO was designed by Korea Aerospace Research Institute, and NASA will be a partner on the mission. The American organisation is providing assistance by providing payloads, deep space communication, and navigation technology.
The KLPO will orbit the moon at 100 kilometres above the surface for 10 months, and has cost $180 billion. Among other objectives, the mission will aim to explore a proposed landing site for a future moon rover to be constructed by South Korean authorities.
The other nations to have successfully deployed a moon orbiter mission include America, Russia, China, India, Japan, and the conglomerate of European nations known as the European Space Agency (ESA). India was the latest country to do so when Chandrayaan-1 was launched in 2008.
However, India's latest attempt to place a lander and a rover on the moon was unsuccessful during the 2019 Chandrayaan-2 attempt. Currently, ISRO is planning to launch a third mission, Chandrayaan-3, in the first quarter of 2023 to make India only the fourth country to land on the moon after America, Russia and China.
Additionally, ISRO is also planning the historic launch of the new SSLV rocket on August 7 in commemoration of India's 75 years of independence. This rocket reportedly costs a quarter of the current workhorse PSLV, and will help the space organisation launch commercial satellites more frequently and with better margins.