Chinas secret space plane threw something into space

China’s secret space plane threw something into space

A few days ago, two major events reminded us that China is a leading space power that wants to eventually catch up with the US.

On October 31, she completed her space station with the launch of the third and final module, the Mengtian Laboratory, just eighteen months after the first! Another event that happened on the same day, and not least, the United States Space Force, which monitors space, detected an object in close proximity to the spacecraft that would have been ejected between October 24th and 31st.

Uncertainty about the nature of the released object

Not surprisingly, China, which does not communicate about this program, has not given any information about this ongoing maneuver. One possibility is that the object is a small satellite meant to monitor the spaceplane, which wouldn’t be the first time. As a reminder, during the spaceplane’s first mission in September 2020, a small satellite was released before returning to Earth and sending out S-band transmissions for several weeks afterwards.

The object used could also be a test mission of small payloads in orbit or the spaceplane’s service module, as Jonathan McDowell, editor of the Jonathan’s Space Report newsletter, refers to the activities in orbit (satellites, launch vehicles, spacecraft, etc.).

If it is indeed the service module, the spaceplane is scheduled to return to the mainland in the next few days, possibly November 5th. It is believed to land at the Lop Nur base in Xinjiang for its maiden flight….

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