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China's Queqiao-2 relay satellite enters lunar orbit



The Queqiao-2 relay satellite conducted perilune braking at a distance of about 440 kilometers from the lunar surface on Monday after 112 hours of flight, and entered the lunar orbit after about 19 minutes, according to China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The satellite, which was sent to the space onboard a Long March-8 Y3 carrier rocket on March 20, is designed to serve as a relay platform for the fourth phase of China's lunar exploration program, providing communications services for the Chang'e-4, -6,-7, and -8 missions.

Perilune braking is a vital type of orbital control during the satellite's flight to the moon. The satellite must "brake" as it approaches the moon, bringing its relative speed below the moon's escape velocity, so that it can be captured by the moon's gravity and orbit the moon.

The two experimental satellites for communication technology, the Tiandu-1 and -2, which were also onboard the Long March-8 Y3 carrier rocket, also completed perilune braking and entered lunar orbit on Monday.

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