An illustration by an artist from the Queqiao relay satellite in China, which will transmit data between pilot pair of rovers Chang & # 4; e on the far side of the moon and between China and China. Queqiao is scheduled to launch on May 20, 201
China will launch the next installment of its ambitious robotic lunar research program on Sunday (May 20) if everything goes according to plan
The satellite satellite "Queqiao" is scheduled for Sunday around 5pm on the launch site of the Xichang satellite in Sichuan province on a "Long March 4C" rocket launch EDT (2100 GMT, 5:00 pm on May 21 local Xichang time).
Queqiao will then make his way to the Earth Moon Lagrange Point 2, a gravitationally stable point that lies 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the far side of the moon. From this point of view, Queqiao will relay signals and data between the earth and the groundbreaking Land Rover Duo Chang # 4 of China. This pair will launch at the end of this year, trying to become the first spaceship ever to land on the other side of the moon. [China’s Moon Missions Explained (Infographic)]
The moon is locked to the ground, which means that it always shows the same face (the near side) to our planet. Therefore, a relay connection is necessary to communicate with spacecraft on the other side, which would otherwise have to send their signals through the rocky mass of the moon.
Queqiao will also be carrying out an astronomy experiment called Dutch-Chinese low-frequency researchers, who will search for radio signals from the early days of the Universe and characterize, among other things, the solar wind near the Moon. And Queqiao will not start alone; Long March 4C will also attract two small satellites, Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2, which will carry out their own radio astronomy research.
The Chang & # 39; e program has already achieved a number of successes. The probes Chang & # 39; e 1 and Chang & # 39; e 2 reached the lunar orbit in 2007 and 2010, and at the end of 2013, the Chang & # 39; e 3 mission brought a lander and rover to the near moon side. The following year, China brought Chang' # to the scene. e 5 T1, a mission that sent a Probe Return capsule around the Moon and back to Earth to demonstrate the technology needed to survive a fiery atmospheric approach. China plans to launch a mission to return lunar samples called Chang & # 39; e 5 in 2019.
The nation also wants to bring people to the lunar surface before the end of the 2030s, Chinese officials said.  The Chang & # 39; e program was named after the Chinese Moon Goddess, and "Queqiao" means "Bridge of Magpies". This latter nickname comes from a Chinese fairy tale. In the story, as China's state news broadcaster Xinhua said last month, "Magmas on the seventh night of the seventh month of the lunar calendar form a bridge with their wings to allow Zhi Nu, the seventh daughter of the Sky Goddess, to meet her beloved husband, which is separated from it by the Milky Way. "
" Longjiang "means" dragon's river "by the way. This is obviously an allusion to the home base of the small satellites; They were developed by the Harbin Institute of Technology, located in Heilongjiang Province. "Heilongjiang" means "Black Dragon River"; It is the Chinese name for the big, mighty river that the Russians call the Amur, which is part of the border between Russia and China.