by Andrew Jones
China’s Chang’e-4 lander and rover are scheduled to launch in December this year to perform the first ever soft-landing on the far side of the Moon, but the mission’s side quests are already performing impressive feats.
One of two microsatellites launched along with a required communications relay satellite in May has quietly been allowing radio operators to download images from the spacecraft taken along its elliptical lunar orbit.
Longjiang-2, aka DSLWP-B, was developed by students at the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) in Heilongjiang Province, northeast China. Despite having a mass of just 47 kg, the tiny satellite managed to use its own propulsion to slow down and enter lunar orbit while the relay satellite continued past the Moon to its special destination.
During its time in orbit Longjiang-2 has used a student-developed camera to take images of the Moon, Mars, the Sun and other objects. UHF tests have seen data transmitted by Longjiang-2 and received and decoded by radio operators on Earth.
Images from DSLWP-B student camera developed by @duke_SORA: Mars & Capricornus on 4 Aug, and Mare Nubium on 30 Jun. UHF received from @radiotelescoop @cgbassa @tammojan , Beijing, @I0LYL and Harbin BY2HIT @LittleQ_Huang . Thanks to @fsphil for ssdv and much help from @ea4gpz pic.twitter.com/z44OptGXTp
— BG2BHC (@bg2bhc) August 5, 2018
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