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The Korean Lunar Exploration Project involves the development of Korea's first lunar probe and acquisition of the basic technologies needed for lunar exploration - such as an orbiter, a landing module, scientific payload, and deep space communication.
During Phase 1, a test orbiter will be developed in an effort to attain the key space exploration technology, the deep space network will be constructed, and the payload will be jointly developed with other countries. In Phase 2, an unmanned lunar orbiter and a lunar landing module will be developed and launched using the Korean launch system.
The lunar probe will be equipped with mission systems such as a scientific payloads to analyze the lunar environment and to explore the l lunar its resources, nuclear battery system and a lunar rover.
Korea has accumulated around 70% of the key technologies needed for lunar exploration through the previous earth-orbiting artificial satellite technologies since 1990’s. KARI and NASA have signed on “Implementing Arrangement between NASA and KARI for cooperation on the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) mission” in December 2016. The technical cooperation involves accommodation of a couple of NASA payloads onto the test lunar orbiter, and NASA’s technical support on mission design, deep space communications, and navigation technologies. The technical cooperation with NASA, a pioneer in space exploration, is expected to significantly increase the possibility of successful lunar exploration.