NASA's ShadowCam heading to Moon aboard South Korea's first lunar orbiter 'Danuri'
On Thursday, August 4, SpaceX's Falcon 9 launched South Korea's first moon mission, the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) or Danuri. Flying aboard the spacecraft is NASA's ShadowCam - a hypersensitive optical camera that will collect images of permanently shadowed regions near the Moon's poles.
ShadowCam is one of five instruments on board Korea Aerospace Research Institute's KPLO spacecraft. Developed by Arizona State University and Malin Space Science Systems, the camera is several hundred times more light-sensitive than previous imagers to allow for capturing details within the permanently shadowed regions.
"The data gathered from ShadowCam and the other KPLO instruments will support future lunar exploration efforts, including Artemis. The high-resolution imagery captured in extremely low-light conditions could help inform landing site selection and exploration planning for future Artemis missions by providing insight into terrain and lighting conditions, and the distribution and accessibility of resources like water ice that are useful for long-duration stays," NASA said in a statement.
South Korea's KPLO lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Over the next 4.5 months, the spacecraft will use a fuel-saving Korean Ballistic Trajectory 62-mile (100 km) lunar polar orbit, where upon arrival, it will then begin operations on a planned 11-month mission.
Deployment of KPLO confirmed pic.twitter.com/ctco6Qsmdi— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 4, 2022