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Queqiao-2 achieves lunar orbit, advancing China's growing moon program
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Queqiao-2 achieves lunar orbit, advancing China's growing moon program
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Mar 26, 2024

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced the successful entry of the Queqiao-2 relay satellite into its circumlunar orbit following a critical near-moon braking maneuver early Monday.

The satellite initiated its braking sequence at approximately 12:46 am (Beijing Time), commencing at a distance of 440 kilometers from the moon. Within 19 minutes, Queqiao-2 had smoothly transitioned into its designated orbit around the moon, a statement from CNSA outlined.

In its upcoming phases, Queqiao-2 is set to adjust its orbit to assume an elliptical path conducive to executing a communication test with the Chang'e-4 and Chang'e-6 lunar probes, as per the mission schedule.

Highlighting the significance of near-moon braking, CNSA emphasized its role as a critical orbital adjustment necessary for achieving stable lunar orbit. This process ensures the satellite's velocity is moderated below the moon's escape velocity, allowing lunar gravity to capture it effectively for circumlunar flight.

Accompanying Queqiao-2, the Tiandu-1 and Tiandu-2 communication and navigation technology test satellites also achieved circumlunar orbit after their simultaneous near-moon braking. Plans for their eventual separation are on schedule, CNSA confirmed.

Named "magpie bridge 2" and launched on March 20, Queqiao-2's mission extends to facilitating Earth-Moon communication, supporting lunar exploration endeavors, including sample return missions from the moon's far side and probing the lunar south pole region.

Based on a Xinhua News Agency article

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