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News Release

Marking the 1st anniversary of the successful launch of Danuri, the Republic of Korea takes the first step into the future of space exploration!

  • Department Administrator
  • Registration Date 2023-08-08
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- A ceremony to commemorate the 1st anniversary of Danuri launch and space exploration symposium to be held

- Operational output to be disclosed, such as photo of candidate sites for Artemis-III manned landing

- Consultation among experts embarked to establish a roadmap for Korea’s space exploration to Moon, Mars, and beyond


The Ministry of Science and ICT (Minister Lee Jong Ho, hereinafter referred to as 'MSIT') and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (President Lee Sang-ryul, hereinafter referred to as 'KARI') held a ceremony to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the successful launch of Danuri and Space Exploration Symposium on August 7th (Mon.).

Approximately 100 participants attended the event, including Minister Lee Jong Ho of MSIT, President Lee Sang-ryul of KARI, Kim Young Cheol, Secretary General of the National Research Foundation (NRF), as well as those involved in the development and operation of Danuri, and experts in the field of space exploration. The attendants shared the achievements and operational status of Danuri and celebrated its first year since launch.

On August 5th (Fri.) last year, at 8:08 a.m., Danuri was launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the U.S. After 145 days of Earth-Moon transit, it successfully entered lunar orbit on December 27th, 2022, to carry out lunar mission. With no prior space exploration experience, South Korea has achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the 7th country in the world capable of deploying and operating a lunar probe through this project. The Danuri launch accompanied various scientific and technological accomplishments, such as the first-ever capture of an Earth-Moon photo by a South Korean spacecraft on August 26th, 2022, and the world's first data transmission of videos and images through 'space internet' access on October 28th, 2022.

After entering lunar orbit, Danuri completed its commissioning and initial operations over approximately one month until February 3rd this year. On February 4th, it began its regular mission operations with its six payload modules, which include exploring potential landing sites on the Moon, conducting scientific research, and validating satellite internet technology. Throughout this process, Danuri demonstrated stable lunar observation and data communication capabilities. For instance, on March 22nd, 2023, the lunar orbiter took and sent back photos of the moon's far side, which is also the first-ever accomplishment of its kind for South Korean spacecraft.

In June, the mission's duration was extended (initially January 2023 - December 2023, rescheduled to January 2023 - December 2025) to further expand the lunar exploration and research output of Danuri. This extension decision came after analyzing the remaining fuel and the spacecraft's mainframe condition to ensure its continued mission operations.

The ceremony showcased various impressive accomplishments, which attracted significant attention from the attendees. The event featured high-resolution camera images of potential ice-rich regions like the Hermite-A Crater, and the Artemis III crewed mission candidate landing site in the Amundsen Crater. In addition, the event presented photos of the Reiner Gamma Swirl, a well-known magnetic anomaly on the Moon captured using a wide-angle polarizing camera, a preliminary map of thorium distribution, drafted with data from a gamma-ray spectrometer, and images of the Sverdrup Crater, a region in permanent shadow near the lunar South Pole, captured using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) ShadowCam.

Danuri is scheduled to continue its lunar observation mission while orbiting the Moon until December 2025. Especially in the coming December, there are plans to commemorate the 1st anniversary of Danuri's mission by disclosing various observation materials. These include photos of potential lunar landing sites, five types of lunar elemental maps, radiological environment map of the Moon, and more.

Following the ceremony to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the launch of Danuri, the 1st Space Exploration Symposium was held under the theme of 'The Value and Necessity of South Korea's Space Exploration.' The symposium gathered a wide range of domestic experts, including Lee Chang Yoon, Deputy Minister of the Office of Research and Development (R&D) Policy and Cho Sun-hak, Director General of the Space, Nuclear, and Big Science Policy Bureau at MSIT.

The Space Exploration Symposium aims to establish the vision and strategy for South Korea's space exploration. It serves as a platform for listening to diverse voices of researchers at the forefront, focusing on space exploration-related needs regarding scientific research and technological development, and exchanging ideas on the subject matter. This discussion will be the starting point for further consultations with experts in varying fields of space exploration, including the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and other areas, to shape the future direction of South Korea's space policy.

at the forefront, focusing on space exploration-related needs regarding scientific research and technological development, and exchanging ideas on the subject matter. This discussion will be the starting point for further consultations with experts in varying fields of space exploration, including the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and other areas, to shape the future direction of South Korea's space policy.

During this first Symposium, before formulating individual strategies for lunar, Martian, and other exploration fields, in-depth discussions were held on 'why South Korea should pursue space exploration.' These discussions encompassed multidisciplinary perspectives, spanning from scientific, technological, economic, to philosophical aspects, to explore the values and necessities of space exploration for the nation.

As the first presenter, Cheon Yee-Jin, Head of the Space Environment Test Division at KARI, delivered a presentation titled 'Current Status and Prospects in Global Space Exploration.' In the presentation, the speaker introduced the recent trends and future plans of leading countries in space exploration, such as the U.S., Japan, and the European Union, emphasizing the expanding and fiercely competitive nature of global space exploration. Insightful suggestions on the direction South Korea should take in this global condition were also shared.

Following that, Park Sang-Joon, the representative of Seoul Science Fiction (SF) Archive, delivered a presentation on the topic of 'Future Society and Space Exploration.' The presentation discussed the role of space exploration in shaping the future society, the changes that space exploration is expected to bring about, and the value and necessity of space exploration for South Korea. In doing so, he emphasized the importance of space exploration in the context of national development and fostering future advancement.

After the presentations, there was a lively discussion among attendees from various sectors, including industry, academia, and research institutions, regarding the necessity of space exploration and the direction and specific strategies that South Korea should pursue in the field.

At the ceremony, Minister Lee Jong Ho of Science and ICT delivered a congratulatory speech, stating that, "Through the success of Danuri, South Korea has become a genuine participant in lunar exploration, contributing to humanity's ongoing attempts at exploring the universe." The Minister encouraged the research team, "I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the researchers for their dedicated efforts, as the success of Danuri contributed to elevating national dignity and instilling a sense of pride among the people." Minister Lee also remarked, "Based on Danuri's pioneering step, I hope that South Korea can seize the opportunities of infinite space by garnering much interest from both experts and the public."

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