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Yesterday evening Central European Summer Time, the Netherlands Chinese Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) was launched on board the Chinese Queqiao satellite from Xichang in the south of China, to a position behind the Moon. It is the first Dutch scientific instrument ever to travel on a Chinese space mission, and it opens a new chapter in radio astronomy. The launch of the satellite is the starting point of the Chang'e-4 mission, later this year, the first mission to land on the far side of the Moon. The relay satellite is required for communication with the Earth.
NCLE project leader Marc Klein Wolt (managing director Radboud Radio Lab) was present at the launch together with colleagues and representatives from the Dutch embassy in China. "Everything has been successful and our antenna is now on its way to the so-called second Lagrange point (L2) of the Earth-Moon system. That is about 65,000 kilometers behind the moon. "The team watched the launch at a distance of 2 km from the platform. Klein Wolt: "I have never heard such an impressive sound. The rocket came over our heads at a height of 100 kilometers and we all got a bit emotional. We have been working hard on this mission for two years and now NCLE has to continue this journey on its own."
Radio - Antenna - Team - Scientists - Engineers
The radio antenna was developed and built by a team of scientists and engineers from the Radboud Radio Lab of Radboud University, the Netherlands Institute...
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