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Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter

NSSDCA ID: 2022-094A


The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), also named Danuri, is South Korea's first lunar mission. It is developed and managed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and launched on 4 August 2022, to orbit the Moon for 1 year carrying an array of South Korean experiments and one U.S. built instrument. The objectives are to develop indigenous lunar exploration technologies, demonstrate a "space internet", and conduct scientific investigations of the lunar environment, topography, and resources, as well as identify potential landing sites for future missions.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

The spacecraft has a cubic shape with two solar panel wings and a parabolic antenna mounted on a boom. The total mass is 550 kg. Communications are via S-band (telemetry and command) and X-band (payload data downlink). Power (760 W at 28 V) is provided through the solar panel arrays and rechargeable batteries. A monopropulsion system is used, with four 30N orbital maneuver thrusters and four 5N attitude control thrusters. KPLO is equipped with five science instruments and a Disruption Tolerant Network experiment. The five experiments are a Lunar Terrain Imager (LUTI), a Wide-Angle Polarimetric Camera (PolCam), a Magnetometer (KMAG), a Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (KGRS), and a high-sensitivity camera developed by NASA (ShadowCam). Total scientific payload mass is about 40 kg.

Mission Profile

KPLO launched on 4 August 2022 at 23:08 UT from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 booster into a 300 km Earth orbit, followed by a translunar injection burn and a lunar transfer phase, bringing it to lunar orbit on 16 December 2022. After capture into an elliptical lunar orbit, it will circularize to a 100 km nominal polar orbit (+-30 km), from which it will conduct science operations for approximately one year. If the mission has an extended phase, it will descend to a 70 km orbit or lower.

Spacecraft image credit: Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

Alternate Names

  • Danuri
  • KPLO
  • KoreaPathfinderLunarOrbiter

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2022-08-04
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 550 kg
Nominal Power: 760 W

Funding Agency

  • Korea Aerospace Research Institute (South Korea)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



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