BEIJING – China’s most secretive spacecraft broke the record for the flight of an unmanned spacecraft. This reusable test aircraft was launched from the Jiuquan Launch Center in China ‘s Gobi Desert aboard a Long March 2F rocket on August 4, 2022.
The rocket’s fairing size as well as amateur sightings and tracking by the US Space Force all point to similarities to the American X-37B. built by Boeing. The difference is, the size of China’s spacecraft is smaller.
This appears to be the second flight in China’s response to the US’s X-37B spacecraft. On Monday 22 August 2022, the Chinese spacecraft launched on 4 August has now been in orbit for 18 days.
As far as anyone outside of China’s space program and military know, this Chinese spacecraft is believed to have flown for the first time in 2020. At that time, the Chinese spacecraft was able to survive in orbit for two days.
“Just like the 2020 spacecraft mission, it appears that at least one smaller satellite was also released alongside the spacecraft,” SpaceNews said.
Satellite photos appear to show that the alleged landing site used by Flight 2020 is being prepared again, but no landings have been reported yet. It is possible that the plane managed to land in a place that has gone undetected or not reported by orbital observers.
However, it seems unlikely, given the US Space Force must have been monitoring the presence of this spacecraft with its cameras. Moreover, the US also has the X-37B spacecraft has been flying for more than a decade on secret missions.
The plane has flown missions that saw the plane spend more than two years in continuous flight over Earth. In fact, it is currently above us on a mission that has lasted more than 800 days.