Magpie Bridge relay satellite will communicate with lunar lander to be deployed later in the year

China is aiming to launch its new mission to the moon on Monday 21 May.

The Chang’e 4 relay satellite will be stationed about 60,000km behind the moon and provide a communications link for a rover that is designed to land and explore the lunar far side, which never faces Earth. The relay satellite has been named Queqiao, meaning Magpie Bridge, a name that comes from Chinese folklore in which a flock of magpies forms a bridge over the Milky Way to allow a separated pair of lovers to unite.

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