Science and Tech
S.Korean lunar orbiter to undergo critical trajectory manoeuvre
Seoul, Sep 2 (IANS): South Korea’s unmanned space vehicle Danuri was scheduled to undergo a critical trajectory manoeuvre on Friday to travel toward the moon for the country’s first lunar mission, officials said.
Danuri, also known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, was launched last month aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the US state of Florida for South Korea’s first space mission beyond Earth’s orbit.
The orbiter is currently on its way to the moon on a ballistic lunar transfer trajectory — which takes the vehicle toward the sun before looping back to arrive at the moon’s orbit in December.
The route, while much longer than traveling directly toward the moon, allows more fuel efficiency as it uses the sun’s gravity for travel, reports Yonhap news agency.
According to the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Danuri was scheduled to carry out a Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM), in which Danuri’s direction, position and speed will be readjusted to head back toward the moon.
Cho Young-ho, head of the Danuri mission operations team at KARI, said the TCM will effectively serve as the “bridge role” in the orbiter’s journey spanning from the Earth to the sun and then to the moon. Engineers will be able to verify its success 48 hours later.