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News Release

Selection of Company for Lunar Orbiter Launch Service

  • Department Administrator
  • Registration Date 2017-12-18
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□ The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)(an acting president
Kim In-sun) disclosed that it selected SpaceX as the company for the launch service of Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), which is scheduled to be launched in 2020, and signed the launch service contract on December 15.

○ The international open bidding to select the company for the launch service of KPLO was participated by SpaceX (launch vehicle name: Falcon 9) and Antrix, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation. After careful evaluation, SpaceX was chosen as the bidder. KARI and SpaceX then concluded the launch service contract through negotiation.

□ KARI plans to develop and operate the KPLO through the international cooperation of the U.S. space agency NASA in the Lunar Exploration Phase 1 project to secure the key technologies and the base needed for a lunar exploration.

○ The Phase 1 project plans to secure lunar orbiter and lander design and core technologies; construct a deep space ground station; develop lunar missions payload; and develop the space Internet, space guidance and navigation technologies.

□ KPLO will have a total of six payloads including five payloads (high-resolution camera, wide-angle polarimetric camera, lunar gamma-ray spectrometer, lunar magnetic field sensor, and space Internet) developed in Korea and a payload (shadow camera) developed by NASA. It will enter the lunar polar orbit with its own propulsion system after launch and transmit the high-resolution image and measurement data to the earth.

○ KPLO will mount the payload developed by NASA, and NASA will support the communication, tracking, and navigation needed for the successful operation of the lunar orbiter using Deep Space Network.

□ KARI is currently in the detail design phase of KPLO after completing the preliminary design review (PDR) of the system; the plan is to launch it in 2020 after the Integrated Electrical test, Structure Development Model test, and System Integration and Test of the flight model.
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