Launch Date: May 21, 2018 Launch Window: TBA Launch Vehicle: Long March 4C Launch
|Launch Date:||May 21, 2018|
|Launch Vehicle:||Long March 4C|
|Launch Site:||Xichang Satellite Launch Center|
|Payload:||Queqiao – Chang’e 4 Relay Satellite|
|Satellite Type:||Lunar Exploration Communications Support|
|Secondary Payloads:||Longjiang-1 & 2|
China’s robotic exploration of the Moon is expected to take its next major steps in 2018 with the Chang’e 4 lunar lander and rover mission that aims to become the first lunar surface exploration mission on the far side of the Moon. To communicate with an asset on the far side of the Moon, a dedicated communications relay post is needed in a position where it can have a direct line of sight to the lander and a ground station on Earth – the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2, a gravitationally stable position behind the Moon (as seen from Earth), provides a suitable position to place a relay satellite. Queqiao, a 425-Kilogram satellite built for a five-year mission, hosts a 4.2-meter dish antenna to keep up a 256 kbit/s link with the Chang’e 4 lander & rover and relaying data to the ground via S-Band. The Chang’e 4 mission targets launch around half a year after the relay satellite.