South Korea's unmanned space vehicle Danuri has successfully entered the orbit of the moon earlier than planned, the South Korean science ministry said Wednesday.
Danuri, also known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, was captured by the moon's gravity on Tuesday and began rotation, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.
It was achieved after three rounds of lunar orbit insertion (LOI) maneuvers since the first one held on Dec. 17.
Danuri was scheduled to achieve the lunar orbit on Thursday after performing a total of five rounds of LOI maneuvers, the adjustment process for a space vehicle to lower its speed and commit itself to the gravity of the moon.
The space vehicle will measure terrain, magnetic strengths, gamma rays and other traits of the lunar surface using six onboard instruments during its yearlong mission starting in January. The orbiter will also identify potential landing sites for future lunar missions.
Danuri, South Korea's first space mission beyond Earth's orbit, was launched in August aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the U.S. state of Florida for South Korea's first lunar mission. It has traveled a cumulative 5.94 million kilometres so far.