China launches secret 'reusable experimental spacecraft' China says it has successfully launched

China says it has successfully launched a "reusable experimental spacecraft" under increasing secrecy. Space industry observers believe it is an unmanned spacecraft, similar to the X-37B, operated by the US Air Force and Space Force in recent years.

China launches secret 'reusable experimental spacecraft'  China says it has successfully launched

A brief statement from China's state-run Xinhua Media announced the launch on Friday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

"After a period of operation in orbit, the spacecraft will return to its designated landing site in China. It will test reusable technologies during its flight, allowing for the peaceful use of space," the statement said. Technical support will be, provided. "

The mission was conducted’ under the guise of additional privacy, with no official picture of the launch nor the timing of the launch.

"It's tempting to think it's not just a spacecraft, it's a military spacecraft," said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astronomy at the European Space Agency's Zoom Conference on Friday. There is a plane. "

China had earlier announced its intention to test the spacecraft in 2017, and reports have been circulating abroad for months that preparations are underway.

The US X37B has been flying autonomously for more than two years. It is unclear how long the new Chinese spacecraft will remain in orbit.

Satellite watchdog Michael Thompson said that if its purpose was a short mission, it could return to Earth in less than 24 hours:

We'll update this story as we learn more about the craft or its flight.


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