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[Anchor Lead]The race for moon exploration, which slowed down since the U.S. astronauts stepped on the moon for the first time 50 years ago, is gaining pace again recently, as countries around the world are increasingly eyeing space exploration. Korea joined the race for moon exploration ten years ago, but it has been facing hurdles due to multiple changes in plans. The launch of a lunar probe that was scheduled for late 2020 has been pushed back by 19 months because of technological problems.[Pkg]​The first Korean lunar orbiter was to be launched in December 2020 to orbit the moon while observing topography and verifying space Internet technologies. However, the date has been pushed back to July 2022. The change was inevitable, as the weight of the lunar orbiter had grown by 130kg from the initially expected 550kg. The lunar orbiter will be equipped with six devices including high-resolution cameras and magnetometers. [Soundbite] CHOI WON-HO(MIN. OF SCIENCE & ICT) : "Concerns have been raised over the lack of fuel and shorter operation period due to increased weight. The researchers are divided on the technological solution."The orbit will be modified as well. Originally, the orbiter was to stay on the circular orbit for three months, but under the modified plan, it will travel on an elliptic orbit for nine months to save fuel. The required budget will likely rise by 28.8 billion won from the initial estimate of about 198 billion. The launch of the lunar orbiter was at first set for 2023, but was pushed forward by 5-6 years. Last year, it was changed to the year 2020, but was postponed again by 19 months. These delays triggered criticism over the lack of consistency in the nation's space exploration policies. [Soundbite] BANG HYO-CHUNG(PROF., KAIST) : "Investing in this project and accumulating technologies with patience is essential. Developing our own space technologies without such efforts is very unrealistic."The Stage 2 plan for moon exploration --


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