South Korea plans to launch moon probe in 2020 in intensifying Asian space race

AP reports that South Korea will launch its own lunar probe in 2020:

"South Korea will launch its first lunar probe in 2020, joining an intensifying Asian space race after recent missions to the moon by China and Japan, the government said Tuesday.

The plan is part of the government's Space Development Roadmap that also aims to put a satellite into orbit on a rocket to be developed from homegrown technology by 2017, the Science and Technology Ministry said.

Kaguya Observation by Terrain Camera and Multi-band Imager

3D image of the Moon surface from Kaguya. Credits: JAXA

[JAXA Press Release - 16.11.2007]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) carried out an observation using two onboard sensors of Kaguya: the Terrain Camera (TC) and Multi-band Imager (MI,) on November 3, 2007, processed the acquired data, and confirmed they were functioning properly. The observation was part of the initial functional verification of the Kaguya, which had been injected into the Moon's orbit at an altitude of about 100 km. In a global first, both three-dimensional (stereo) observations of the Moon by the TC with a 10-meter aerial resolution and a multi-band observations by the MI with a 20-meter aerial resolution of the Moon's backside and near polar were taken.

India and Russia Sign an Agreement on Chandrayaan-2

ISRO and Roskosmos signing a cooperation agreement. Credits: ISRO

[ISRO Press Release - 14.11.2007]
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) have signed an Agreement on joint lunar research and exploration. Mr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO, and Mr A Perminov, Director, Roskosmos, signed the Agreement in Moscow on November 12, 2007 during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Russia. This cooperation envisages Chandrayaan-2, a joint lunar mission involving a lunar orbiting spacecraft and a Lander/Rover on the Moon’s surface. ISRO will have the prime responsibility for the Orbiter and Roskosmos will be responsible for the Lander/Rover. A few scientific instruments from other space agencies may also be accommodated on these systems. Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) around 2011-12 time frame. This agreement is a major milestone in the long-standing cooperation between India and Russia in the area of outer space.

NASA Tests Lunar Habitat in Extreme Antarctic Environment

A prototype of an inflatable lunar habitat. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 14.11.2007]
NASA will use the cold, harsh, isolated landscape of Antarctica to test one of its concepts for astronaut housing on the moon. The agency is sending a prototype inflatable habitat to Antarctica to see how it stands up during a year of use.

Agency officials viewed the habitat Wednesday at ILC Dover in Frederica, Del., as it was inflated one last time before being packed and shipped to Antarctica's McMurdo Station. NASA is partnering on the project with the National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va., which manages McMurdo Station, and ILC Dover, the company that manufactured the prototype structure. All three organizations will share data from the 13-month test, which runs from January 2008 to February 2009. An inflatable habitat is one of several concepts being considered for astronaut housing on the moon.

Earth-rise filmed from Kaguya

Earth-rise seen from Kaguya. Credits: JAXA/NHK

[JAXA Press Release - 13.11.2007]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have successfully performed the world's first high-definition image taking of an Earth-rise* by the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) which was injected into a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km on October 18, 2007 (Japan Standard Time. Following times and dates are all JST.)

Jaxa releases fantastic film footage from Kaguya

Kaguya HD footage of the Moon. Credits: JAXA/NHK

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have successfully performed the world's first high-definition image taking by the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) which was injected into a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km on October 18, 2007, (Japan Standard Time. Following times and dates are all JST.)

The image shooting was carried out by the onboard high definition television (HDTV) of the KAGUYA, and it is the world's first high definition image data acquisition of the Moon from an altitude about 100 kilometers away from the Moon.

China's first lunar probe enters moon orbit

Chang'e-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: CNSA

[Xinhua Press Release - 05.11.2007]
China's first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, successfully completed its first braking at perilune and entered the moon's orbit Monday morning, becoming China's first circumlunar satellite.

Chang'e-1, following the instructions of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC), started braking at 11:15 a.m. at a position around 300 km away from the moon and entered the moon's orbit at around 11:37 a.m. after completing the braking, according to the BACC.

NASA Announces New Center Assignments for Moon Exploration

Concept of one potential design for a future lunar rover. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 30.10.2007]
NASA announced Tuesday which agency centers will take responsibility for specific work to enable astronauts to explore the moon. The new assignments cover elements of the lunar lander and lunar surface operations. The agency also announced work assignments for Ares V, a heavy-lift rocket for lunar missions.

"NASA's Constellation Program is making real progress toward sending astronauts to the moon," said Rick Gilbrech, associate administrator for Exploration Systems, NASA Headquarters, Washington. "Work on our new fleet of rockets and spacecraft, Ares I and Orion, is already well under way. With these new assignments, NASA will launch the next phase of its exploration strategy - landing crews and cargo on the surface of the moon."

NASA to Establish Nationwide Lunar Science Institute

Lunex Honorary Member Jack Schmidt on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA.

[NASA Press Release - 30.10.2007]
NASA has announced its intent to establish a new lunar science institute. This effort, with dispersed teams across the nation, will help lead the agency's research activities for future lunar science missions related to NASA's exploration goals.

Named the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), the effort will be managed from NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Ames currently manages a similar distributed NASA Astrobiology Institute.

ICEUM9 declaration released

ILEWG Logo. Credits: ILEWG

[ILEWG Press Release - 30.10.2007]
We are proud to release the ICEUM9 Sorrento Lunar Declaration, endorsed unanimously by the participants on 26 October, on the last day of 9th ILEWG International Conference on Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon (ICEUM9).

It is now posted on the ILEWG website at:

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