China launching the first spacecraft for Chang 4’s lunar mission

Queqiao Communication Relay Satellite which is being built in China is undergoing last round of its preparation before it can take off. China is very hopeful with its Chang’e four mission, and this spacecraft is the first of its kind. This spacecraft will land on the far side of the moon in the later part of 2018.

Liftoff is scheduled to be made on Sunday, i.e., May 20, 2018, around 5 pm EDT. This spacecraft will take the help of a Long March 4C rocket that will be launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center which is located in China’s Sichuan province. Along with it, two smaller radio astronomy satellites will also be going to space. The two satellites are known as DSLWP-A1 and DSLWP-A2.

Initially, the mission was decided to take off in June 2018. However, China did not reveal the reasons for this early launch of the aircraft. Also, Beijing is not at all ready to disclose any fact that has led to this pre-launch activity.

If the mission becomes successful, then it will position at the Earth-moon L2 Lagrangian Point. It is a point which is located at 280,000 miles directly “behind” The Earth as can be viewed from the Sun. These two smaller satellites are scheduled to be placed within a lunar orbit.

The mission is designed in such a manner that the relay satellite will be able to view both the Earth and the distant side of the moon. This statement was made by the Director of the Science and technology Commission Mr. Bao Weimin. He is the director of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. 

It weighs around 937 pounds which implies that it is based on CAST100 satellite platform. One of the critical features of this equipment is that it has two solar arrays and a deployable 13.8 feet dish antenna which will be used for relay equipment.

The relay communication instrument of Queqiao enables the satellite to receive communication at a speed of four 256-kilobit-per-second links in X-band which traverses between itself and Chang’e 4 landers as well as a rover. In addition to this, it helps to establish one link in S-band at two megabits per second between the satellite and our Earth.

With the mission of establishing a communication link with the still-to-be-launched Chang’e 4 lunar lander and rover, China will be in urgent requirement of the Queqiao. This is mainly because any spacecraft which position itself on the far side of the moon will require a relay satellite to transmit signals.