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A Chinese space plane launches a mysterious object into orbit months after its launch

A Chinese space plane launches a mysterious object into orbit months after its launch

A strange Chinese space plane is back to normal again, launching an unidentified object into orbit, which could signal the end of its mysterious mission.

The US Space Force is currently tracking the mysterious object, which appears to have been launched by the reusable spaceplane on May 24 at around 3 p.m. ET, said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. male He wrote on “It will be interesting to see if the plane will move or land soon.”

The spaceplane was launched on December 14 aboard a Long March 2F carrier rocket, which took off from the Jiuquan Launch Center in China. Shortly after, the car arrived Deploy six objects into orbit, which seem to emit different signals. The recent unidentified object, McDowell suggests, could mean the space plane is preparing to land soon after 164 days in orbit.

The Chinese spaceplane is a product of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, a state-owned manufacturer that makes civil and military space launch vehicles. The spaceplane’s first flight took place in 2020, staying in orbit for just two days before landing again on Earth. For the second time in orbit, the spaceplane was launched in August 2022 and spent 276 days in Earth orbit.

During its previous missions, the space plane had done just that It launched other mysterious objects into orbit Without specifying its purpose. Overall, China has kept its development of a reusable spaceplane under wraps, sharing little information about its prized craft.

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“After working in orbit for a period of time, the experimental spacecraft will return to the designated landing site in China,” China’s official Xinhua Net news agency wrote. “During this period, it will verify reusable technology and space science experiments as planned, and provide technical support for the peaceful use of space.”

As the name suggests, spaceplanes are hybrid aircraft and spacecraft that are launched into space by rockets, operate as a spacecraft orbiting in space once and then operate like regular aircraft in the Earth’s atmosphere. If proven successful, spaceplanes could become valuable reusable spacecraft, meeting the growing demand for satellite launches and other missions that need to be transported into space. Likewise, the US Space Force has its own space plane; the Boeing X-37. US Space Force X-37B launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket On December 28 on its seventh mission.

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