SpaceX makes its first direct launch to the moon

SpaceX will make its first direct launch to the moon tonight, paving the way for future missions and possibly part of the Artemis program.

BingMag.com SpaceX makes its first direct launch to the moon

SpaceX will make its first direct launch to the moon tonight, paving the way for future missions and possibly part of the Artemis program.

The launch of the Falcon 9 "SpaceX" rocket is scheduled for Thursday, August 4 at 19:08 EST (03:38 AM on Friday, August 14, Tehran time) and it is supposed to be the 34th launch of this The company will go to space from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Base.

This mission will be the first direct launch of SpaceX to the moon by carrying the "Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter" or "KPLO" spacecraft. And it could also make South Korea one of the few countries that have successfully entered orbit somewhere other than Earth.

SpaceX has dedicated the former Falcon Heavy rocket booster named B1052 to its first moon launch. After launching in April 2019 and supporting the launch of another Falcon Heavy rocket in June, the side booster remained inactive for 1,000 days.

BingMag.com SpaceX makes its first direct launch to the moon

B1052 booster before its first launch as a Falcon 9 booster
Credit: Richard Angle, Teslarati

The reason for this The blackout was that almost every payload intended for launch on SpaceX's most powerful operational rocket, the Falcon Heavy, was delayed by months or even years. Eventually, SpaceX gave up and converted the vehicle to a Falcon 9 booster, so B1052 debuted on January 31, 2022. KPLO will be the sixth overall launch and the fourth mission of this booster as Falcon 9.

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Technically, KPLO won't be the first payload SpaceX has helped send to the moon. Earlier in 2019, Israel's "Beresheet" moon probe was launched in a joint mission with a normal geostationary communication satellite. Although the spacecraft landing was unsuccessful, before the probe was destroyed during landing, SpaceX had brought it to a stable orbit around the moon. This time, however, instead of launching the Korean probe as a common payload into Earth orbit, KPLO, which Also known as Danuri, it will be Falcon 9's only payload, and the SpaceX rocket will launch the orbiter directly into space on a Lunar Injection (TLI) orbit of the Ballistic Lunar Transfer (BLT) type.

A BLT is much slower than some alternative TLI routes, but it makes up for the speed with exceptional efficiency. Such an approach would make the launch easier for the Falcon 9 and ultimately provide the orbiter with more useful operating time by requiring less fuel to enter orbit.

BingMag.com SpaceX makes its first direct launch to the moon

The Falcon 9 rocket before launching the Korean orbiter to the moon
Credit: SpaceX

If all If things go according to plan, KPLO with a weight of about 678 kg will enter the lunar orbit in the middle of December (end of Azar) after starting the engine several times and correcting the course. The main purpose of this spacecraft, which is equipped with several cameras, network experiments and several scientific instruments, is to search for a smooth and unobstructed area for a future Korean lander.

The name of this next mission has not been disclosed, but even the parts More of that will be done by Korea itself as it plans to launch it with its Nuri missile. After the success of its first orbital launch attempt in October 2021 (Mehr 1400), Nouri successfully reached orbit in its second launch attempt in June 2022 (Khordad 1401).

KPLO is one of the six launches. Scheduled for August 4 worldwide, two Chinese missions, a ULA launch on the US East Coast, a Lab Rocket mission from New Zealand and Blue Origin's latest suborbital tourist launch will also take place on the same day.

Cover photo: Falcon 9 rocket and a view of the moon
Credit: SpaceX

Source: Teslarati

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