What is Queqiao-2?

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What is Queqiao-2? Blog Image

Overview:

China National Space Administration (CNSA) recently said its launch of Queqiao-2 satellite was a "complete success".

About Queqiao-2

  • Queqiao-2 (Magpie Bridge 2) is a relay satellite launched by China to serve as a communications bridge between ground operations on earth and upcoming lunar probe missions on the far side of the moon until at least 2030.
  • It has a mass of 1,200 kilograms and carries a large, 4.2-meter-diameter (13.8-foot) parabolic antenna that will be deployed once in space and is oneof the largest sentbeyond Earth orbit.
  • Queqiao-2’s first task will be supporting China’sChang’e-6 lunar far-side sample return mission. It will further support the future Chang'e-7 and -8 lunar missions.
  • Queqiao 2 carries three science payloads: an Extreme Ultraviolet Camera (EUC), a Grid-based Energetic Neutral Atom Imager (GENA), and a very long baseline interferometer, the Lunar Orbit VLBI EXperiment (LOVEX).
  • It has a planned lifetime of over 8 years.
  • The mission will also be deploying two experimental CubeSats, Tiandu-1 and Tiandu-2, which will orbit the Moon to test navigationand communication technologies.
    • Tiandu-1 has a Ka-band communications system and a laser retroreflector. It has a mass of 61 kg.
    • Tiandu-2, the smaller of the two cubesats with a mass of 15 kg, also has a communications system.
    • The two satellites will be in formation in an elliptical lunar orbit. Navigation tests include laser ranging to the Moon, and microwave ranging between satellites.

Q1: What are CubeSats?

A CubeSat is a square-shaped miniature satellite (10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm—roughly the size of a Rubik's cube), weighing about 1 kg. A CubeSat can be used alone (1 unit) or in groups of multiple units (maximum 24 units).

Source: China launch of relay satellite Queqiao-2 for lunar probe mission successful