Satellite is first step to far side of moon
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.