SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s unmanned space vehicle Danuri has sent back photos of Earth and the moon after reaching the moon’s orbit last month, the state space research center said Tuesday.
The orbiter performed three rounds of lunar orbit insertion (LOI) maneuvers from Dec. 17 to lower its speed and commit itself to the gravity of the moon before entering the selenocentric orbit on Dec. 27.
The first photo was taken Dec. 24 some 345 kilometers above the moon, when Danuri was carrying out its second round of LOI, and the second one was taken four days later while rotating around the satellite of Earth, according to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
In addition, KARI released more Earth images taken on the last day of 2022 and the first day of 2023 by Danuri.
After traveling for 145 days from Earth, Danuri is now orbiting the moon at a speed of 1.62 kilometers per second in a regular two-hour cycle.
The lunar orbiter will transform its system to the main operation mode this month to carry out its mission on the moon.
The space vehicle will measure the terrain, magnetic strengths, gamma rays and other traits of the lunar surface using six onboard instruments during its yearlong mission starting in February.
The orbiter will also identify potential landing sites for future lunar missions.