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News Release

Unknown areas on the surface of the moon to be revealed with the cooperation of NASA

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  • Registration Date 2021-09-14
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Unknown areas on the surface of the moon to be revealed with the cooperation of NASA

- Lunar orbiter equipped with NASA high-precision filming mount to be launched in August next year
- Measurement of proposed site for future manned landing on the moon as the actual result of Korea-US moon exploration collaboration


□ The Ministry of Science and ICT (Minister Lim Hye-sook, hereinafter MSIT) announced the completion of installation of ShadowCam developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the lunar orbiter currently under development in Korea and which is targeted for launch in August next year.
ㅇ Manufactured and provided by the US, NASA’s ShadowCam is a high-precision camera playing the role of filming permanent shadow areas that sunlight cannot reach such as craters located in the north and south poles of the moon.

□ Under the “Artemis Agreement,” Korea participates in the “Artemis program,” an international cooperation project for the US-led manned moon exploration through an agreement at the Korea-US summit last May.
ㅇ The Artemis program is a program with the ambitious goal of sending an astronaut to the moon by 2024 and constructing a sustainable manned base on the moon by 2028 with the participation of 12 countries including Korea.
ㅇ This agreement is an opportunity for Korea to expand actual cooperation with the US, an advanced country in moon exploration. The installation of the ShadowCam is significant since the collaboration on moon exploration between Korea and the US is proceeding smoothly.

□ The heart of collaboration in moon exploration with NASA is learning deep space navigation technology and deep space communication technology—which is the strength of the US—and finding an appropriate landing point when NASA engages in manned moon exploration in the future at the same time.
ㅇ The lunar orbiter under development by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute through its moon exploration project will conduct its moon exploration mission while orbiting the moon for 1 year. It plans to secure and verify space exploration infrastructure technology.
ㅇ The navigation technology that sends the lunar orbiter to orbit the moon for moon exploration, along with communication technology that exchanges information from a location far from the moon, is essential for this project; these technologies will be provided by NASA free of charge.
ㅇ On the other hand, Korea will support the Artemis program by measuring the existence of water or resources and topographic characteristics using the ShadowCam on candidate sites for NASA’s manned moon landing in 2024.

□ The moon exploration project, which is going smoothly along with the smooth Korea-US cooperation, will complete the total assembly of the lunar orbiter by October of this year and carry out the launch with the service of SpaceX in August of next year after going through environmental testing and final inspection.
ㅇ “We look forward to the moon exploration project securing the core technology of deep space exploration, at the same time becoming the starting point of space exploration such as developing lunar landing module in the future through mutual beneficial cooperation between Korea and the US,” Space and Big Science Policy Division officer Kwon Hyeon-jun said.
ㅇ “We will open Korea’s full-fledged space age with the launch of a Korean projectile this coming October, along with the development of a Korean satellite navigation system (KPS) that begins next year,” he added.
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