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China launches relay satellite as part of plan to probe dark side of moon

Video Source  >> AP NewsRoom

Xichang, Sichuan Province – 21 May 2018


1. Long March-4C rocket blasting off
2. Various animation of Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) relay satellite
Beijing – Recent (exact date not known)

3. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) Wu Weiren, chief designer, China’s lunar exploration programme/academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering: ++PART OVERLAID WITH VARIOUS OF SATELLITE BEING ASSEMBLED++

“It can communicate not only with the far side of the Moon but also with Earth, so we gave it the name of Queqiao (Magpie Bridge). It’s like we set up observing and controlling communication between the Moon’s far side and the Earth. ”

Xichang, Sichuan Province – Recent (exact date not known)


4. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) Zhang Lihua, project director of the relay satellite of Chang’e-4, China Academy of Space Technology, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation: ++STARTS ON ANIMATION OF THE SATELLITE/IN VISION/ENDS ON SATTELITE BEING ASSEMBLED++

“Because it’s always visible to the Moon’s far side as well as the Earth, so it is beneficial to our relay communications. Actually we can keep communicating with Chang’e-4 lander, which will land at Moon’s far side, and our rover. Also we can set up simultaneous communications with our base on earth.”

5. Various of the relay satellite being assembled ++FIRST SHOT PART OVERLAID WITH AUDIO FROM SHOT 4++


China launched a relay satellite on Monday as part of a groundbreaking programme to be the first to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon later this year.

The satellite, which was lofted into space aboard a Long March-4C rocket, will facilitate communication between the base on Earth and the lander and rover of the Chang’e-4 mission, said Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China’s lunar exploration programme in a recent interview with China’s state broadcaster CCTV.

China hopes to become the first country to soft-land a probe on the moon’s far side, also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and is comparatively unknown.

The satellite, named Queqiao, or “Magpie Bridge,” after an ancient Chinese folk tale, was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the Space Administration said.

The launch is a “key step,” but the satellite’s mission must still overcome challenges including making multiple adjustments to its orbit, “braking” near the moon and using lunar gravity to its advantage, project manager Zhang Lihua was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

China previously landed its Jade Rabbit rover on the moon and plans to land its Chang’e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that has been done since 1976.


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