Seoul: South Korea’s space research institute has announced that it is on track to launch the country’s first lunar mission in the second half of 2022. According to an official announcement, this will be the first launch of a lunar orbiter, which is slated for the second half of 2022.
South Korea’s lunar project has suffered multiple delays. South Korea, a relatively new entrant in space, has been working on a lunar orbiter programme since 2016, according to Yonhap news agency.
The spacecraft is expected to land on Moon by December 16, 2022, and conduct a year-long mission that could even be extended, according to the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
The lunar orbiter will conduct various missions, such as capturing images of shadowed regions of the moon using NASA’s ShadowCam, it added.
The country’s lunar orbiter project has been making little progress due to technical and budgetary issues. Under the current government, the orbiter was originally slated for launch in December this year.
The country’s lunar programme was at risk of another delay when it decided early this year to scrap its original travel path and use a low-energy trajectory in order to increase the spacecraft’s fuel efficiency.