China’s space agency’s space plane got five minutes already in 2020, but after a two-day mission, it was quickly forgotten by the world – so we got a reminder on August 4 this year, because “Experimental reusable spacecraft ‘launched back into space’ aboard a Long March 2F rocket. It is to stay there “for a specified period” and then return to Earth, where the specialists, after a series of tests, will assess whether it can be used on another flight.
And that’s all we know about the spacecraft that China launched into space – except maybe It orbited for 90 days, and at the end of October, as suggested by the US Space Forces, an unknown object was deployed into orbit. This must be in a space plane-like orbit and so close to it that experts initially doubted whether it was a separate object. As we learned from Orbital Focus’s Robert Christie entry, Body will likely be published October 24-30.
What could it be? Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics suggests that it could be a service unit containing support systems As for the plane itself, and its location may portend an imminent de-orbiting. In his opinion, the orbiter of the craft indicates that the landing will take place at the Lop Nur base in the Xinjiang region, the same place where the tests of the first version of the aircraft ended in 2020.
Moreover, there is an assumption that This isn’t the first object deployed by a spacecraft, because data from the Space Defense Squadron points to one or two other objects that are similar. In his “neighbourhood” – again, only China knows its purpose.
The space planes themselves, as their name suggests, are Hybrid aircraft and spacecraft – They behave like conventional aircraft in the Earth’s atmosphere and spacecraft orbiting around it when they enter outer space. The United States also has a similar solution, and we are talking about the Boeing X-37 shuttle, which launched its sixth test flight in May 2020 and is still in orbit … of course with a secret mission.
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