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SpaceX launches South Korea’s first-ever moon mission

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Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) launched today on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

KPLO is South Korea’s first deep-space mission, and it lays the groundwork for more ambitious moon efforts in the future.

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Nine minutes after liftoff, the first stage landed precisely on the SpaceX droneship “Just Read the Instructions.”

The Danuri spacecraft of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute is on a year-long mission to explore the moon.

The 1,495-pound spacecraft carries six science instruments, five of which were developed in-house and one supplied by NASA.

ShadowCam, one of the instruments, will look for water ice in permanently shadowed lunar craters.

The Artemis Accords, signed by South Korea, aim to establish a permanent human presence on and around the moon by 2030.