Chinese mysterious spaceplane put an object into orbit

A Chinese unmanned spaceplane, which has been in orbit since August, has separated an object from itself. There are several assumptions that it is. The space plane itself will probably land soon.

Boeing X-37B, which may resemble a Chinese spaceplane. Source: Boeing

Chinese spaceplane in orbit

The US Space Forces are tracking the maneuvers of an experimental Chinese spaceplane in orbit. This unmanned vehicle was launched into orbit on August 4 with the help of the Long March 2F rocket. It has been in space for more than 90 days.

Nothing is known about how this device actually looks, having a shape and purpose. Chinese news agencies report only on the very fact of its launch. Of all the images, only a photo of the payload fairing is known.

Two weeks ago, the spaceplane performed a maneuver to raise the perigee of its orbit. Now it is almost circular: 597×608 km. On October 31, the US Space Defense Squadron 18 noticed a mysterious small object next to the spaceplane.

What is this object?

So far, there is not even confirmation that the object really separated from the spaceplane. But if it is confirmed, the US space forces will start tracking it. But what are experts putting forward versions already now.

Firstly, it can be a small autonomous device with a camera. Its main task may be to review the spaceplane from the outside. China has repeatedly used small Banxing devices with a very limited lifetime. Secondly, it may be a test of a new small satellite.

Where will the spaceplane land?

Previously, China has already launched its spaceplane in 2020. And then it also left a small device in orbit, sending signals for two weeks. And both times the launch was reported only after it occurred.

Obviously, the spaceplane is connected with the project of a fully multiple two-stage system. It is known that its suborbital component with vertical takeoff and horizontal landing made a flight in September of this year.

How long the spaceplane flight will last is unknown. Last time it landed at the Lop-Nur Airbase in Xinjiang. This time, reconnaissance satellites have already noticed activity on it. So, most likely, the landing will take place soon.

The spaceplane flies over Lop-Nur every 71 hours. So it has the opportunity to land once every three days. The last time it appeared on November 1, but then the space plane remained in orbit.

According to

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