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China launched on Monday a relay satellite that will allow a rover to communicate with the Earth from the far side of the Moon during an unprecedented mission later this year.
The Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite was blasted into space from the southwestern Xichang launch centre in the pre-dawn hours, according to the China National Space Administration.
Satellite - Split - Carrier - Rocket - Minutes
The satellite split from its carrier, a Long March-4C rocket, after 25 minutes and unfolded its solar panels and communication antennas, as it headed towards its destination, the CNSA said.
"The launch is a key step for China to realise its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the Moon," Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.
Satellite - Communications - Controllers - Earth - Side
The satellite will relay communications between controllers on Earth and the far side of the moon, where the Chang'e-4 lunar probe—named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology—will be...
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