South Korea launches first lunar orbiter, BTS song to be used to test wireless internet link

South Korea’s first lunar orbiter has launched successfully, beginning a year-long mission to observe the Moon.

Danuri — a portmanteau of the Korean words for “Moon” and “enjoy” — was on a Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida by Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX.

It aims to reach the Moon by mid-December.

“South Korea’s first lunar orbiter ‘Danuri’ left for space at 8:08am on August 5, 2022,” Seoul’s science ministry said on Twitter, sharing a video of the rocket blasting off, trailing a huge column of smoke and flames.

“Danuri will be the first step towards the Moon and the further universe,” it said, apparently referring to the country’s ambitious space program, which includes plans for a Moon mission by 2030.

SpaceX tweeted that the launch had been a success.

“Deployment of KPLO confirmed,” it said, referring to Danuri using an acronym of its official name, the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter.

The Danuri has an instrument which evaluates the possibility of disruption-tolerant space communications.(AFP: Jung Yeon-je)

During its mission, Danuri will use six different instruments, including a highly sensitive camera provided by NASA, to conduct research.,

That research will include investigating the lunar surface to identify potential landing sites.

One of the instruments will evaluate disruption-tolerant, network-based space communications, which, according to South Korea’s science ministry, is a world first.

BTS song to be played to test wireless link

Danuri will also try to develop a wireless internet environment to link satellites or exploration spacecraft.

The lunar orbiter will stream the song Dynamite, by K-pop boy band BTS, to test this wireless network.

Another instrument, ShadowCam, will record images of the permanently shaded regions around the poles of the Moon where no sunlight can reach.

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