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China launches relay satellite to explore Moon's far side

21 May 2018

China launched a relay satellite early on Monday. The purpose is to set up a communication link between the Earth and the planned lunar probe that will explore the mysterious far side of the Moon. The satellite has separated from the rocket and entered an Earth-Moon transfer orbit at 200 km and the apogee at about 400,000 km.

It was carried by a Long March-4C rocket, according to the China National Space Administration.  Two microsatellites were also launched at the same time. They will enter highly elliptical lunar orbits to perform their astronomy tasks. Monday's launch was the 275th mission of the Long March rocket series.