ShadowCam and KPLO Ready for Launch!

Image of the SpaceX Flacon 9 rocket and KPLO payload on the SLC-40 launch pad ready for fueling.
The Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), or Danuri, awaits launch on top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center SLC-40 launch pad (image courtesy of Bryan Snook).

The Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle was transferred to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) late Wednesday, 3 August, in preparation for what is sure to be an exhilarating launch today. 

Close up image of KPLO on top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Close up image of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the KPLO spacecraft located inside the top payload fairings at KSC SLC-40.

Members of the ShadowCam team gathered at KSC to collaborate in an ever-necessary science team meeting. All of whom are currently suffering from overwhelming enthusiasm to see the event live. What began in 2016 as a simple discussion has evolved through numerous hours of collaboration, engineering, and development to arrive at what will hopefully be one of many culminating moments. 

ShadowCam, a specialized camera designed to image the shadows of the Moon, joins five other payloads onboard KPLO, the first South Korean spacecraft scheduled to travel beyond Earth's orbit. Enjoy the following video overview of the ShadowCam project and instrument.

The launch is just the beginning, though. Shortly after liftoff, the KPLO spacecraft, also called Danuri, and all six payloads will begin their four-month cruise to the Moon. The journey will take Danuri approximately 1.55 million km to Lagrange Point 1 (L1) between the Earth and Sun, then the spacecraft will fall back towards the Moon and eventually maneuver into lunar orbit. This journey will total more than three and a half million miles. Once Danuri arrives in lunar orbit, if everything goes as planned, the ShadowCam team expects to receive their first images of the Moon in early January 2023.

We hope you'll share the experience with the ShadowCam, KPLO, KARI, and NASA teams by watching the launch today at approximately 7 p.m. EST (23:00 UTC). See below for more information.

Resources for viewing

Posted by Rick Hoppe on 4 August 2022