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China marks key step in trailblazing expeditions to Moon

By Zhao Lei in Wenchang, Hainan | | Updated: 2024-03-20 08:35
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People watch the Long March 8 carrier rocket lift off in Wenchang, Hainan province, on Wendesday. [Photo by Zheng Xinqia/South Daily]

Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, Queqiao 2 is based on the CAST2000 satellite framework. It weighs about 1.2 metric tons and has two major payloads - a 4.2-meter parabolic antenna for communications with lunar probes and a 0.6-meter parabolic antenna used to transmit data to the ground control.

Queqiao 2 is primarily tasked with relaying signals and data between the Chang'e 6 robotic mission, which has been scheduled to be launched by a Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket before July.

In the long term, the satellite will also serve the Chang'e 7 and 8 missions that will be the basis for an ambitious multinational plan known as the International Lunar Research Station to be constructed in the 2030s.

These coming missions are expected to inject new momentum into China's lunar exploration adventure that has already gained remarkable feats.

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