China Launch Chang’e-4 Relay Satellite, Queqiao

China has successfully launched the Queqiao relay satellite aboard a Long March 4C rocket. The relay satellite will enable operators to communicate with the country’s Chang’e-4 moon lander that is scheduled to launch later this year.

The Long March 4C was launched from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Centre at 21:28 UTC on Sunday (05:28 local time on May 21). Follow its separation from the rocket’s upper stage, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) confirmed that the satellite had been successfully inserted into a lunar transfer orbit.

Chang’e-4 is an ambitious lunar lander and rover mission that will touch down on the far side of the moon. Direct communication with operators on Earth will be impossible and, as a result, the success of Chang’e-4 hinges on China first being able to position the Queqiao relay satellite. The satellite is currently in a cost phase on its way to the moon.

As has been commonplace following launches from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, a spent Long March 4C stage was captured falling back to Earth impacting mere kilometers from inhabited areas in Jiangkou County, Guizhou province. Luckily, it has been confirmed that there were no casualties and no property damage.

Featured image credit: CNS

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.