South Korea launched its first robotic mission to the Moon last week, as a SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched the Danuri Lunar Pathfinder mission on August 4, 2022 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The spacecraft was placed into a fuel-saving lunar transfer orbit, and it should arrive in lunar orbit in December.
So far, only six countries have successfully launched more than 1 ton of equipment into space using domestically developed rockets. A seventh, North Korea, has successfully done so with a slightly smaller payload. Recently, their southern neighbor attempted to get into this exclusive club by testing its first-ever three-stage orbital rocket.
A South Korean rocket carrying a climate observation satellite apparently exploded 137 seconds into its flight early Thursday. The two-stage Naro rocket operated normally during and after liftoff from the country’s space center, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Ahn Byong-man said. But then communications with the rocket were lost.