Chinese unmanned space plane returns to Earth

The secret Chinese space plane that launched from the Jiuquan Cosmodrome on August 4, 2022, has finally returned to Earth. According to a short message from the Xinhua news agency, on May 8 of this year, it landed on a runway specially equipped at the same cosmodrome. This was the second trip of this spacecraft beyond the atmosphere. The first one took place in September 2020 and lasted only two days.

A possible appearance of a Chinese space plane in flight. Source:

This time, the mission of the Chinese shuttle lasted 276 days. Like the previous one, it was top secret — Chinese officials did not disclose any of its details. We still don’t know what this spacecraft looks like, and instead of its name, the designation CSSHQ is most often used. According to some signs, experts believe that it should be similar to the reusable unmanned spacecraft of the American Air Force X-37B, created by Boeing. However, little is known about it and its missions, too.

Ground-based observations indicated that during the second flight, CSSHQ carried out corrections of its orbit, and at the end of October, another small spacecraft separated from it. 

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