China has many plans to compete with the United States and Russia in space exploration. By 2030, it hopes to become a major country in space overcoming the developed ones. China also has plans to develop its own space station by next year. Landing on the moon for the first time in 2013, China is also working on a lunar exploration mission to explore the invisible side of the moon when looked from Earth.
In connection to this, on Monday morning, China has launched a relay satellite to serve as a communicational link between Earth and the planned mission that involves the launch of Chan’ge-4 lunar probe and it is expected to launch at the end of this year. A rover will also be included. If launched, it will be the second Chinese probe to land on the Moon while Yutu is the first Chinese one landed in 2013. Initially, Yutu did not send any signals to the Earth but later its served more than 31 months of the expected lifeline.
The relay satellite named as Queqiao or Magpie Bridge will be placed in the space for three years at an orbit about 455,000 km from Earth and it is said to be the world’s first communication satellite to operate in the particular orbit. According to the recent announcement by China, the satellite was carried by a Long March 4C rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center and the satellite needs to take advantage of moon’s gravitational force to stabilise its stay in the concerned orbit.
NASA has been working on two missions simultaneously, one is to send a man to mars and then to Mars for exploration. Mars 2020 rover shall be collecting samples from moon’s surface that would be useful for USA’s upcoming Mars exploration.