Satel­lite is first step to far side of moon

China Daily European Weekly - - News Digest -

China launched a re­lay satel­lite on May 21 as the first step in the ground­break­ing Chang’e 4 lu­nar mis­sion. The satel­lite, named Que­qiao, a leg­endary bridge in the Milky Way, was lifted into space atop a Long March 4C car­rier rocket from the Xichang Satel­lite Launch Cen­ter in Sichuan prov­ince, the China Na­tional Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion said in a state­ment. Que­qiao has been placed into an Earth-moon trans­fer or­bit and has started a jour­ney to­ward a halo or­bit around the Earth-Moon La­grangian point 2, a grav­i­ta­tion­ally sta­ble spot lo­cated 455,000 kilo­me­ters from Earth be­yond the far side of the moon. From the or­bit, it will re­lay com­mu­ni­ca­tion sig­nals be­tween Earth and the Chang’e 4 lu­nar probe that is sched­uled to land on the moon around year’s end, the ad­min­is­tra­tion said. Que­qiao will be the world’s first com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite op­er­at­ing near the Earth­moon L2 point, the ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

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