China successfully launched a reusable spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and successfully returned to its intended landing site on June 6 after two days in orbit, Xinhua reported On June 6. Reported that the success of the test, marking China’s reusable spacecraft technology research has made an important breakthrough, the follow-up for the peaceful use of space to provide a more convenient and cheap way to and from. Although Chinese officials did not provide further details about the launch, there has been speculation that “China may have successfully tested a new type of space plane”.
Russian satellite news agency reported on the 6th speculated on China’s “reusable spacecraft” three uses. Jonathan McDowell, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, believes China’s “reusable spacecraft” could be a reusable manned spacecraft or a highly automated space shuttle, the report said. “It’s different from the reusable Falcon rocket developed by SpaceX, but it could be similar to the company’s Dragon, it could be an unmanned space shuttle like the X-37B in the U.S., or it could be a future space shuttle for manned flights,” Mr McDowell said. “
According to reports, the United States has built a number of reusable space shuttles, it can carry people between low-Earth orbit and the ground, are now retired. The Soviet space shuttle Blizzard made only one unmanned flight in 1988. The X-37B is a small unmanned space shuttle developed by Boeing. Since 2010, it has completed five space flights, lasting between 225 and 780 days, with the aim of completing tests in orbit to serve the U.S. Air Force, but all test details are kept strictly confidential. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, which is mainly on mission to the International Space Station, can be reused in its return capsule.
Ivan Moiseyev, director of the Russian Space Policy Institute, said that based on limited information provided by Chinese officials, China may have put a similar U.S. secret space shuttle X-37B into orbit. Igor Lisov, a Russian space expert, said, “From unofficial and semi-official sources, China has been studying the ‘Shenlong’ skyplane for many years and does not rule out the 4th as its first launch.” The Tracking website, operated by the U.S. military’s Joint Space Operations Center and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, confirms that the Chinese test spacecraft has successfully entered space, according to TheDrive. Reports speculate that the new space vehicle could be a replica of the Chinese version of the X-37B or the European Space Agency’s Space Knight space shuttle.
TheDrive website also mentions that there have been many rumors that the test could involve a new type of space vehicle, the SpaceX. It can lift through wings and airflights in the Earth’s atmosphere, glide like a conventional airplane, and move freely in space like a spacecraft. In addition to reusable this feature, other key benefits of spaceplanes include reduced turnaround time between launches and the ability to carry a wider payload. Airborne aircraft can carry payloads back to Earth and perform a variety of other professional tasks, so they are particularly valued by national militaries. “Their reusability may eventually reduce the cost of going into space, but this has not been proven enough,” the report said.
Andrei Jonin, a communications fellow at Russia’s Ziorkovsky Academy of Astronautics, said the Chinese spacecraft in orbit was likely to be used for long-term technical tests rather than military missions. (Guo Yandan)