Elon Musk’s SpaceX launches first EVER Moon mission in major step for lunar base plans

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ELON Musk’s space ambitions don’t just centre around Nasa – his SpaceX company is working with South Korea too.

One of his rockets has been used for the country’s first Moon mission.

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SpaceX footage shows the Falcon 9 launch of the Korea Lunar Pathfinder Orbiter (KPLO)Credit: AFP

The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) was successfully blasted aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, taking off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

But it’ll be a while before scientists can enjoy the fruits of their labours.

The trip will take four and a half months in total.

So we’ll have to wait until mid-December to find out if the mission was a complete success.

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The orbiter will scour the Moon for key lunar resources such as water ice, uranium and aluminium.

KPLO is actually a collaboration between Nasa and South Korea’s own space agency, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute – though the vast majority of kit belongs to the latter.

For South Korea, it’s a major moment as the country’s first Moon mission.

But it’s also a big deal for SpaceX.

Musk’s firm is very experienced when it comes to rocket launches now but this is actually the first time it’s gone directly to the Moon.

It all comes as Nasa gears up to settle their permanently.

The American space agency wants human feet to step down on the lunar surface once again by 2025.

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And eventually it plans to build an orbiting lunar station, which will be used to transport astronauts to the Moon and go onto Mars from there.

Nasa has been increasingly turning to SpaceX to launch astronauts into space after years of paying a hefty price to catch a lift with Russia.

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