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China launches new relay satellite for Earth-Moon communications
SOURCE: Xinhua     UPDATED: 2024-03-20

China launched a new relay satellite on Wednesday to provide Earth-Moon communications services, a key step for its future lunar exploration missions such as retrieving samples from the far side of the moon.

A Long March-8 rocket, carrying the satellite dubbed Queqiao-2, or magpie bridge-2, soared into the sky at 8:31 a.m. from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province.

After 24 minutes of flight, the satellite separated from the rocket, and entered the planned Earth-Moon transfer orbit with the perigee at 200 kilometers and the apogee at 420,000 kilometers. The satellite's solar panels and communications antennae were unfolded, according to the China National Space Administration.