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China prepares to launch Lunar exploration satellites Tiandu 1 and Tiandu 2
A flight diagram of the Tiandu experimental satellite.
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China prepares to launch Lunar exploration satellites Tiandu 1 and Tiandu 2
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Feb 05, 2024

With China's ambitious strides in space exploration, the upcoming launch of two experimental satellites, Tiandu 1 and Tiandu 2, marks a significant step forward in the country's lunar exploration and technological advancements in communication and navigation. These satellites are scheduled for launch in the first half of the year, alongside Queqiao 2, or Magpie Bridge 2, a relay satellite integral to lunar exploration missions, which was recently transported to the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in South China's Hainan province.

Tiandu 1 and Tiandu 2 are poised to play a crucial role in the development of China's lunar communication, navigation, and remote sensing systems. Weighing 61 kilograms, Tiandu 1 is outfitted with a Ka dual-band communicator, a laser corner reflector, and a space router, making it a versatile tool for lunar exploration.

On the other hand, Tiandu 2, with a weight of 15 kilograms, carries essential communication and navigation devices. Both satellites will enter the lunar transfer orbit alongside Queqiao 2, then proceed to orbit the Moon, conducting measurements and technological experiments crucial for future missions.

Chen Xiao, the chief of the project, highlighted the significance of these satellites, stating they will provide a reference for the design of the future Queqiao constellation. This constellation represents China's vision for its own lunar communication, navigation, and remote sensing systems, a testament to the nation's growing capabilities and ambitions in space exploration.

China's efforts in expanding its space technology, as evidenced by the development and upcoming launch of the Tiandu satellites and Queqiao 2, underscore the country's commitment to establishing a more permanent presence in space.

The Queqiao relay satellite, part of the Chang'e 4 mission, previously enabled communication from the far side of the Moon, showcasing China's technological advancements. The introduction of Tiandu 1 and Tiandu 2 suggests a continuation and expansion of these efforts, with the aim of developing infrastructure to support future lunar missions and possibly manned missions or lunar bases.

The scheduled arrival of Tiandu 1 and Tiandu 2 at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site around February 7th, as reported by Xinhua News Agency, sets the stage for a pivotal moment in China's lunar exploration endeavors.

With these satellites, China is not only advancing its capabilities in space but also laying the groundwork for the future Queqiao constellation, which will enhance communication, navigation, and remote sensing around the Moon. This move aligns with global trends in space exploration, where nations are increasingly focusing on the Moon as a stepping stone for deeper space exploration and eventual human settlement.

Based on a Xinhua News Agency article

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