China launches signal relay satellite to moon hidden side

The near side of the moon is always towards the earth, so it is impossible to pick up signals from the other end as there is no communication path in between.

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China launches signal relay satellite to moon hidden side

BEIJING, March 20: China launched a new satellite on Wednesday that will serve as a link between ground operations and missions to the far reaches of the moon, opening a new chapter in the country’s lunar expedition program.

According to the Chinse state media, the 1.2-metric-ton Queqiao-2 Long March 8 rocket, named after the iconic bridge magpies Tiandu-1 and -2, took off from southern Hainan province.

The near side of the moon is always towards the earth, so it is impossible to pick up signals from the other end as there is no communication path in between.

Queqiao-2 will orbit the moon and pick up signals from Change’e 6, which is expected to launch in May. Chang’e 6’s mission is to transmit signals from the lunar basin and pick up data from the old and primitive part of the moon.

Queqiao-2 will serve as a relay platform for Chang’e 7, which will be launched in 2026, and Chang’e 8, which will be launched in 2028.

By 2040, Queqiao-2 will be a communication bridge between satellites that will provide signals for operational missions and will also be useful for the exploration of other planets, such as Mars and Venus.

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