Dark Side of the China Moon
May 21, 2018 5:09 AM   Subscribe

I recommend the use of good headphones to best experience this five minute promotional video for the Queqiao Lunar Relay Satellite - - it performs way above its pay grade with heroic soundtrack and snazzy video effects... it's a must see!!! ...especially for any of you fans of the space engineering sub-genre of promotional videos out there.

This morning, China has successfully launched Queqiao (translated: magpie bridge).

After arriving in its position at an L2 Lagrange point this coming week, it will act as a relay satellite for the late-2018 launch of Chang’e 4, China's lunar lander complete with rover set to be the first to soft land on the far side of the moon. Without the Queqiao relay satellite launched today, there would be no way to have a live view from the lander and to drive the rover in realtime on the dark side of the moon which perpetually faces away from Earth.

Chang'e 4's lander features an intriguing miniature biome experiment growing potatoes live on TV.

Additionally, with Queqiao soon in place, China is set to follow-up with Chang'e 5 in 2019 for this space program's next first: a sample return to Earth.
posted by fairmettle (16 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Direct .mp4 link
posted by XMLicious at 5:26 AM on May 21, 2018

Last I checked, the Reuters headline was still "dark side" despite many people pointing out the error (typically via Floyd references).
posted by oheso at 5:29 AM on May 21, 2018

Actually pretty cool.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:51 AM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ah good, an opportunity to point out that referring to it as the "dark side" of the moon is not an error. It's sad that people think so. It's a perfectly good phrase. The place may no be as "dark" (i.e. out of contact, unexplored) as it used to be, but it's still not exactly Picadilly Circus either.
posted by sfenders at 5:53 AM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Matter of fact it's all dark
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:17 AM on May 21, 2018 [4 favorites]

Fake handbags, fake DVDs, now what, we're gonna have a fake moon landing? C'mon, China. We beat you to the punch decades ago.
posted by xedrik at 6:43 AM on May 21, 2018

Magpie Bridge is a truly awesome name for a relay satellite. If nothing else the Sino Space Program has us beat in the naming game.
posted by Chrischris at 7:00 AM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Wow, the full epicness doesn't even *start* until 2:05!
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:12 AM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

But, of course, China's overland launches have a terrifying downside.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:25 AM on May 21, 2018

I can't get either of those video links to load.
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:38 AM on May 21, 2018

Any ideas what the two little pods the 3rd stage pooped out before dropping away from satellite are?
posted by Oh_Bobloblaw at 8:50 AM on May 21, 2018

Dudes don't seem very excited. If I was launching a lunar relay satellite, I'd be excited. But they just sit there.
posted by Devonian at 9:21 AM on May 21, 2018

Is there a youtube or other copy of the video? I can't get it to play on the page or via direct link.
posted by jjwiseman at 11:48 AM on May 21, 2018

Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart is a very enjoyable little book.

There is where I learned that once a year a bridge of magpies forms between the stars Vega and Altair, allowing the lovers to be reunited for a day.
posted by Index Librorum Prohibitorum at 12:59 PM on May 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

the Sino Space Program has us beat in the naming game.

It is just the translation (and maybe stereotypes) that makes it sound more whimsical. The USA and the ESA also like naming stuff after folk tales and mythology.

God of Music and Poetry and Leader of the Muses is the name of the NASA program that used God of Time rockets to put humans on the moon. It was preceded by the Messenger of the Gods program, which can also be called the God of Thieves program.

The European Space Agency recently used a Goddess of the Labyrinth rocket to launch the Keeper of the Winds satellite.
posted by Index Librorum Prohibitorum at 1:19 PM on May 21, 2018 [5 favorites]

With this music, I hope the satellite also destroys a handful of cataclysmic-event sized asteroids, goes through a black hole, makes contact with alien civilizations and gains sentience in the process. Otherwise it may be a bit too much heroism?
posted by vrittis at 2:43 AM on May 22, 2018

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