China Launches Reusable Spacecraft, Keeps Mission Details Secret

China Launches Reusable Spacecraft, Keeps Mission Details Secret”

China launched an experimental reusable spacecraft Friday following months of low-key preparations at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

After spending an undisclosed amount of time in orbit, the spacecraft will return to Earth, landing at a scheduled site in China, the agency reported. "It will test reusable technology during their flight, providing technical support for the peaceful use of space", Xinhua said in the article.

China launched an experimental reusable spacecraft into orbit on Friday (Sept. 4), with few details about what the spacecraft will do.

The airspace closure notices issued on Thursday gave the first indication of an upcoming launch. The "reusable experimental spacecraft" is now in orbit. The spacecraft is new, the launch method is different.

The news comes just over a month after China has launched its Tianwen-1 spacecraft to Mars, which is due to arrive on the Red Planet next February after a seven-month, 34-million-mile voyage. The United States now has its U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane carrying out its sixth mission in orbit. Xinhua media of China says that this reusable spacecraft's performance will inform the future adjustment and modification on the Chinese spacecraft before a declaration that it can conduct more missions.

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This led to speculation that this work would allow an introduction with a higher payload than a standard Long March 2F mission. Officials from the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation added in 2017 that they had finished several ground tests for engines and other components. The 2030 target was also set for the development of a single-stage orbital (SSTO) spacecraft.

Also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, the unmanned spacecraft takes off vertically and returns to the Earth horizontally on a runway landing. This strategy also composed spacecraft reusability for a nuclear-powered launch mission for the country's shuttle in 2045. Chen said some cars will feature both aircraft and spacecraft.

Hypersonic spacecraft like X-37B have the potential to be used as weapons that could take out enemy satellites, space stations, ground targets or missiles and would be very hard to detect or intercept.

Since at least 2007, China has continued to develop its spaceplane.

Yuanwang space tracking ships were already positioned in areas in the Atlantic and oceans to support a spacecraft launching into a roughly 45 degree inclination orbit from Jiuquan.

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