Beijing isn’t letting a global pandemic and deteriorating relations with the US stop it from pursuing eternal national glory in the final frontier – space.
According to reports in mainland state-backed media picked up by the SCMP, China has successfully launched a reusable experimental spacecraft.
The launch took place in the northern province of Inner Mongolia, where the reusable vessel was launched via a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan satellite center in Inner Mongolia on Friday. It’s scheduled to return to the landing site after orbiting the earth for a period.
The spacecraft will test reusable technologies during its flight “providing technological support for the peaceful use of space.”
The latest mission was shrouded in secrecy: a copy of an official memo circulating on social media warned staff and visitors not to take any video, or allow any details about the event to leak.
A memo that served as a warning read that “all units should strengthen personnel security education and personnel management during missions to ensure that there is no leakage of secrets.”
A military source confirmed the document’s authenticity to the SCMP, saying “there are many firsts in this launch. The spacecraft is new, the launch method is also different. That’s why we need to make sure there is extra security.”
Over in the US, Boeing is developing the US X-37B, which experts noted appears to be similar to China’s new reusable space craft.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, the US X-37B is an unmanned space plane that operates like a smaller version of a space shuttle. It’s launched into space by a rocket and cruises back to earth for a runway landing, allowing the vessel to be reused.
SCMP says the Chinese reusable space plane has flown on missions before, but never before in a test of space flight. It’s only the latest development in China’s space program, which also recently launched the first independent probe mission to Mars. US Space Force’s official website said the primary objectives of the X-37B missions were to develop “reusable spacecraft technologies for America’s future in space and operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on earth.”
Given all the similarities to the X-37B, we wonder how long it will take for Peter Navarro to tell Fox or, better yet, CNN that Beijing stole the original technology from the US before building on it.