Credit: CNSA/CCTV Screengrab

The first phase of China’s bid to make space history by hurling a robotic mission to the far side of the moon is en route to a halo orbit of the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point L2. The Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) relay satellite departed Earth atop a Long March 4C booster on Sunday evening May 20 (May 21 in China). Liftoff took place at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Comsat Launch Bolsters China’s Dreams for Landing on the Moon’s Far Side

The Queqiao orbiter will serve as a vital communications relay between the Earth and future lunar landers—and perform some science, too

By Leonard David on May 22, 2018

Radio antennas of the Netherlands Chinese Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE), developed by ASTRON, Radboud Radio Lab, ISIS and the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC).
Credit: Radboud Radio Lab/ASTRON/Albert-Jan Boonstra

Moon landing target for Chang’e-4, the southern floor of the Von Kármán crater, within the South Pole-Aitken basin.
Courtesy: Philip Stooke

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