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S.Korea's 1st lunar orbiter 'Danuri' set for August launch

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Seoul, May 23 (IANS) South Korea said on Monday it has named its first lunar orbiter scheduled to be launched in August — Danuri.

Danuri — a portmanteau of the Korean words for moon and enjoy — was chosen from a national naming contest held from January 26 to February 28.

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It was suggested by a doctorate student in new materials engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and was chosen among 62,719 submissions, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set to lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the US state of Florida on August 3 carrying the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, reports Yonhap news agency.

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The orbiter will circle around the moon from December and conduct a yearlong mission to observe it using an array of instruments, including cameras and magnetometers. It will also identify potential landing sites for future lunar missions.

South Korea has launched a preliminary feasibility study for the successor to the Nuri rocket, the country’s first homegrown space launch vehicle, with the goal of sending a lunar landing module to the moon in 2031.

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–IANS

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