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Daily News Analysis


15th April, 2024 Science and Technology


Source: Wikipedia

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  • China's National Space Administration (CNSA) has declared the launch of Queqiao-2 a "complete success," underscoring its importance in China's space exploration program.


  • Queqiao-2 was launched along with two miniature satellites, Tiandu-1 and Tiandu-2.

About Queqiao-2 Relay Satellite

  • Queqiao-2, the second of two communication relay and radio astronomy satellites, supports China's Lunar Exploration Program by providing communication capabilities to the far side of the Moon.
  • Named after the mythological magpie bridge.

Mission Planning:

  • Queqiao-2 acts as the primary communication switch for China's fourth phase of lunar missions.
  • As part of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), Queqiao-2 supports upcoming Chang'e missions, including Chang'e 6, 7, and 8, planned for the lunar south pole.
  • It addresses the need for a complex communication network to accommodate multiple lunar probes, with the goal of supporting up to ten active robots during the ILRS phase.
  • Mission Tasks: The satellite's primary task is to relay signals to and from the upcoming Chang'e-6 mission, slated for launch in May. This mission aims to retrieve samples from an ancient lunar basin on the far side of the Moon.
  • Future Support: Queqiao-2 will continue to support upcoming lunar missions, including Chang'e-7 in 2026 and Chang'e-8 in 2028, by providing essential relay communication services.
  • Communication Achievements: The satellite has already established communication with Chang'e 4, the pioneering spacecraft that performed a soft landing on the far side of the Moon, as well as the Chang'e-6 probe while it is still on the ground.


  • Queqiao-2 is based on the CAST 2000 bus and operates with a frozen elliptic orbit around the Moon.
  • Its design includes advanced propulsion systems, solar panels, and a large parabolic antenna for communication with lunar surface probes.
  • The satellite's orbit allows for approximately eight hours of visual contact with the Moon during each 12-hour orbit, ensuring stable communication.

Scientific Payloads:

  • The spacecraft carries three scientific payloads, including a particle imager, an extreme ultraviolet camera, and a lunar orbit VLBI experiment.
  • These instruments enable observation of the terrestrial magnetosphere, lunar surface, and radio sources outside the Milky Way.

Comparison with Queqiao:

  • Queqiao-2 represents an upgrade over the original Queqiao satellite, with enhancements in mass, power supply, and communication capabilities.
  • Its elliptical lunar orbit allows for improved line of sight with surface probes and communication with Earth.
  • Notable differences between Queqiao and Queqiao-2 include orbit type, antenna configuration, communication speeds, and operational timelines.


  • Queqiao-2 plays a vital role in advancing lunar exploration and communication, supporting China's ambitious space exploration goals and contributing to international scientific research efforts.

Must read articles:

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Q.  Discuss the significance of lunar exploration in the context of space exploration programs. Examine the objectives, challenges, and potential benefits of lunar missions, particularly in the context of international cooperation and future space exploration endeavors. (250 Words)