South Korea’s space agency, the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), has just signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space for its lunar probe’s communications equipment.
Known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), South Korea’s first lunar mission will consist of an orbiter with six scientific payloads. Thales Alenia will provide an X-band transmitter for the mission, allowing data transmission back to earth. Originally scheduled for launch in 2018, the latest updates have indicated that the KPLO mission might take place in December 2020 instead; all dates are unconfirmed.
Thales Alenia’s contribution to the mission will work in tandem with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA)’s communications subsystems, as confirmed in a contract signed last month.
“The signing of this contract reaffirms the confidence that KARI, one of the world’s leading space agencies, places on the experience and reliability of Thales Alenia Space, both in equipment manufacturing and in the integration of payloads and subsystems,” said Eduardo Bellido, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Spain. “It’s a great satisfaction for us to contribute to the success of a scientific mission as important to South Korea as the Korean Lunar Exploration Program,” he added.
This is not the first collaboration between KARI and Thales Alenia – the company has also provided three communications panels for GEO-KOMPSAT-2, a multi-purpose geostationary satellites slated to launch in 2019.