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May 21-27, 2018 / Vol 37, No 21 / Hawai`i Island, USA

18 May 2018, 20:09 UTC
May 21-27, 2018 / Vol 37, No 21 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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China to Launch Chang’e-4 Satellites, Precursor to Lunar South Pole Landing

China plans to launch the 1st of 2-phase Chang’e-4 mission via Long March 4C rocket to Earth-Moon Lagrange from Xichang Satellite Launch Center during a 3-day launch window starting May 21. A relay satellite named Queqiao (bridge of magpies) is to be lofted to L2, and two microsatellites, Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2 (dragon river), are intended for Lunar orbit. Science and Technology Commission Director of CAST Bao Weimin mentions the relay satellite will be placed ~64,000 km above the Lunar far side ~450,000 km from Earth. The primary function of the 425-kg satellite with a 130 N hydrazine propulsion system and 4.2-m dish antenna relay will be to transmit communications from the lunar far side to support a lander and rover scheduled to launch on a Long March 3B in November to Von Kármán crater in Aitken Basin. Queqiao is equipped with Netherlands-China Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) to detect unexplored radio signals from deep space, measure emissions from the Sun and Jupiter, and solar winds behind the Moon. The two 50x50x50 cm3, 45-kg microsatellites with micro optical cameras will be used for low-frequency astronomy and interferometry experiments. This will be the ...

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