China launched a retransmission satellite on Monday designed to establish a communication link between Earth and a planned moon probe that will explore the dark side of the moon, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Quoting the National Space Administration of China, Xinhua said the satellite was launched at 5:28 a.m. (21:28 GMT Sunday) on a Long March-4C rocket from the Xichang launch center in the southwest of the country.
"The launch is a key step for China to fulfill its goal of being the first country to send an investigation to land softly on the other side of the moon," Xinhua quoted Zhang Lihua, project manager of the satellite of China, as saying. transmission.
He said the satellite, known as Queqiao or Magpie Bridge, will be installed in an orbit about 455,000 km (282,555 miles) from the earth and will be the world's first communication satellite to operate there.
China aims to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030. It is p Last year, while the Chinese government insisted that its ambitions are purely peaceful, the United States Department of Defense He accused him of carrying out activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space badets during the year. a crisis.