Watch live as SpaceX attempts its first live launch to the Moon

A Falcon 9 rocket during its launch last July.

A Falcon 9 rocket during its launch last July.
picture: SpaceX

South Korea embarks on its first lunar mission, And SpaceX to help out. You can watch this historic launch live here.

It’s hard to believe, but the upcoming launch marks the first time SpaceX has sent a payload directly into a lunar ballistic transfer orbit. As for South Korea, this is its first mission to the Moon, adding itself (fingers crossed) to a very small list of countries to do so.

payload du jour It is the Korea Lunar Pathfinder (KPLO), also known as Danuri, on a mission operated by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (Kari). A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, at 7:08 p.m. ET. Live coverage will start 15 minutes before launch, which you can watch on SpaceX Or in the summary below.

KPLO . mission

To be fair, SpaceX has sent an object to the moon before, the Israeli Beresheet lunar lander (which has crashed on the lunar surface in 2019), but that was done as part of a routine Falcon 9 flight-sharing mission to a geosynchronous transfer orbit around Earth. Once in space, Bereshit used her own power Gradually raise its heighteventually enters its lunar orbit (and Mission failure has nothing to do with SpaceX). In addition, the company owns Objects previously sent deep into the solar systemincluding red tesla roadsterbut it has never sent anything directly to our beloved moon before.

This is specific to change today. SpaceX reports an 80% chance of favorable weather. In the event that the launch should be called off, the company will try again tomorrow at 7:00 PM ET.

After the stage is separated, the first stage will attempt to land on Just read the instructions Unmanned aerial vehicle, currently stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. This particular booster has already made several successful landings. Once in space and approximately 34 minutes into the mission, the second stage will restart, with the engine shutting down when the mission clock reaches 35:15. Danuri will deploy and begin its journey to the Moon in five minutes.

Diagram depicting the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO).

Diagram depicting the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO).
Image: KAVI

The 1,100-pound (500-kilogram) probe will enter into a lunar polar orbit in mid-December, where it will operate 60 miles (100 kilometers) above the surface for at least one year. Should the mission be extended, KPLO will drop to an orbit that’s 43 miles (70 km) above the Moon. A publish From Teslarati explains why it will take Danuri so long to reach its target orbit:

Rather than launching the satellite as a transfer payload into Earth orbit, KPLO… will be the only spacecraft aboard the Falcon 9, and a SpaceX rocket will send orbit directly on a type of Translunar Injection (TLI) path known as (a) lunar ballistic transfer. The BLT is much slower than some alternative TLI trajectories, but it trades speed for exceptional efficiency, making launch easier for the Falcon 9 and ultimately giving the orbiter more useful time around the moon by requiring less fuel to enter orbit.

The mission’s primary objectives are to “develop original lunar exploration techniques, demonstrate the ‘space internet’, conduct scientific investigations of the lunar environment, terrain and resources, as well as identify potential landing sites for future missions,” according to to NASA. The space agency provided a high-sensitivity camera to the mission, with South Korea developing its other four instruments: a lunar terrain imager, a wide-angle polar measurement camera (dubbed PolCam), a magnetometer, and a gamma-ray spectrometer. Combined, these five devices weigh no more than 88 lb (40 kg).

A team of NASA-sponsored scientists will participate in the analysis of data for the upcoming mission. Using PolCam, scientists with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, will study lunar lava deposits – ash deposits that formed long ago in the aftermath of violent volcanic eruptions. According to the emailed SSI statement, “These ash deposits can be obtained from the depths of the inner moon and can contain volatile materials including water.” “Thus they have the potential to provide information on the nature of the interior of the Moon and represent a potential resource for future human use of lunar resources.”

We wish South Korea good luck in this important mission, as another country looks to establish a presence around the Moon.

more: These failed missions to the moon remind us that space is hard.

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