Some earthbound radio amateurs and sky watchers have received images from a tiny Chinese satellite now orbiting the moon. In May, China launched the DSLWP-A and DSLWP-B microsatellites — also known as Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2 — into a lunar transfer orbit, although Longjiang-1 was apparently lost in the process and likely remains in deep Earth orbit. They were deployed as secondary payloads with the Quequiao relay satellite as part of the Chang’e 4 mission to the far side of the moon. DSLWP stands for “Discovering the Sky at Longest Wavelengths Pathfinder.” The satellite will test low-frequency radio astronomy and space-based interferometry, and while it carries Amateur Radio and educational payloads, no transponder is aboard.
The Chang’e 4 mission will be the first-ever attempt at a soft landing on the far side of the moon. The Chang’e-4 lander and rover are scheduled to launch in December. The Harbin Institute of Technology (BY2HIT) developed and built the DSLWP spacecraft and is overseeing that mission. The microsat also carries optical cameras from Saudi Arabia.