House antenna reflector put in for the lunar exploration mission in South Korea

[Yonhap News Photo]

SEOUL – South Korea’s lunar exploration mission to launch a lunar orbiter in 2022 made important advances by installing the reflector of a space antenna on a ground control tower. The lunar orbiter will search for a candidate landing site and test internet communications in space during its year-long mission.

SK Broadband, which is responsible for setting up an antenna system, installed the hemispherical antenna reflector with a diameter of 35 meters and a weight of 100 tons on the foundation bed in Yeoju, 55 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the Ministry of Seoul Science and ICT said in one Declaration on December 11th.

The antenna reflector is used to control the movement of the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), which is scheduled to reach the moon in December 2022, while radio waves are collected and broadcast. The addition of a ground station would be completed in March 2022, according to the ministry. South Korea plans to launch the lunar orbit aboard a Falcon-9 rocket manufactured by SpaceX.

The lunar orbiter will carry a variety of devices, including NASA’s ShadowCam, which can map reflectivity in the permanently shaded regions to look for signs of frost or ice build-up. The camera will address the lack of information needed to reduce risk, increase effectiveness, and improve the design of future human and robot missions.

South Korean scientists were allowed to participate in NASA’s development of a payload system for lunar landers to be used in a program to land humans on the moon by 2024. NASA officials said the lunar landing program was not intended to repeat the Apollo missions when six two-man crews reached the lunar surface and stayed no more than three days.

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