Chang’e-4 relay satellite of China, which is scheduled to launch in May to facilitate communications with a rover and a lander, has been named a magpie bridge or Queqiao, which was taken from a Chinese myth. The name was officially announced by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) at an event about the advents of third Space Day in the country.
Chang’e-4 comes from the love story of the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd as well as the Chinese myth. Separated by the Milky Way (also called as the Silver River), the lovers are reunited only for one day every year by Queqiao, a bridge with flock of magpies.
Aside from the liftoff of the Chang’e-4, there are two microsatellites, which will be placed in the lunar orbit. Like the chang’e-4, the two small satellites also have names. These are Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2. This means Dragon River 1 and 2. Harbin Institute of Technology is the developer of the microsatellites. It is located in Heilongjiang province.
Chang’e-4 will attempt the soft-landing on the Moon with a rover and lander at the later part of 2018. Since the Moon’s lunar far side do not face the Earth, a relay satellite plays a vital role in facilitating communications between the Chang’e rover & lander and terrestrial ground stations.
According to the schedule of liftoff, its launch will be held from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center this May thru the Long March 4C rocket. Based on a satellite platform by the China Academy of Space Technology, Queqiao relay satellite is equipped with developed components to go above the challenges posed by its requirements.
Chang’e-4 will work in a halo orbit around the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point. It is approximately over 60,000 kilometers away from the rover and lander situated on the lunar side. The distance will be twice with the satellites in geosynchronous orbit and nearly close to half a million kilometers from the planet. This means there will be greater power demands. The halo orbit will allow Chang-e-4 to be accessible to not only the lander but also to the ground stations on the Earth.
After the launch that may last for eight or even nine days, it will reach the point for sure, it will carry out different tests for its communication relay job and begin more science experiments. Plus, it will carry the NCLE that stands for the Netherlands-China Low Frequency Explorer for astronomy experiments in the near future.