China launched a secret space mission on Friday (4), which departed from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The event, surrounded by mysteries, had no image officially released, arousing the curiosity of the international community.
According to the Chinese agency Xinhua, it is a test spacecraft launched by the Long March 2F rocket, which will spend a period in orbit, before returning to Earth. “It will carry out verification of reusable technology, as planned, to provide technical support for the peaceful use of space,” wrote the vehicle, which did not disclose the duration of the mission.
China is normally secretive about its space launches. But this time, she was even more mysterious, revealing no image of the equipment or the takeoff, in addition to reinforcing security in the area near the Launch Center, to avoid registering photos.
Thus, it is not known exactly what the equipment will do while it is in orbit, although the state media has given some clue, being necessary to wait for the return of the ship and the appearance of reports on the mission.
Space plane: a possibility
In the past few months, modifications have been made to the Long March 2F launch tower in Jiuquan to allow for greater payload lift-off than sent on standard missions. This work led to speculation about a possible space plane developed by China.
According to the reporter specializing in the Chinese space program Andrew Jones, there is a possibility that the launch is a space plane. He told The Verge that the Asian country has great interest in this type of spacecraft and would have already confirmed the production of a prototype.
The equipment in question would be similar to the also mysterious X-37B aircraft of the United States Space Force, launched in 2010 and which is currently in orbit, carrying out its sixth mission in space.