S. Korea, U.S. to join hands for lunar lander payload development


South Korea and the United States agreed to work together to develop a mission payload for a lunar lander, the science ministry said Tuesday. The Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed to form a partnership for prospective space programs and exploration platforms, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.


NASA is currently moving to land an astronaut on the Moon in 2024, with the plan calling for the launch on nine lunar landers starting in 2020 to carry out scientific research in advance. The program calls for private American companies to build the lunar lander vehicles under contract, with various payloads to be developed by U.S. and foreign partners under NASA’s supervision. “The payload device that (South Korea) can build under the arrangement will likely be tasked to precisely check the surface of the Moon and surrounding environment,” the science ministry said.


KASI and NASA plan to launch an Exploration Science Working Group to coordinate future opportunities, the ministry said. Initially, the group’s work will focus on such fields as lunar orbit and surface endeavors, as well as the checking of cislunar space, the area just outside Earth’s atmosphere to just beyond the moon’s orbit.



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