China satellite launch to explore Moon's mysterious far side
A relay satellite was launched by China on Monday. Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) satellite aims to set up a communication link between Earth and the planned Chang'e-4 lunar probe that will study the mysterious far side of Moon.
Carried by a Long March-4C rocket that blasted from China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Queqiao is expected to enter a halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the Earth-Moon system, about 455,000 km from the Earth.
Queqiao will be the world's first communication satellite operating in that orbit.
The launch was the 275th mission of China's Long March rocket series and facilitates China's mission to become the first country to send a probe to the far side of the Moon.
Queqiao is expected to meet with many challenges, including multiple adjustments to its orbit, braking near the Moon and taking advantage of the lunar gravity.