After 276 days in space, a “mysterious” Chinese spaceship has come back to earth.
China’s reusable experimental spacecraft came back to Earth on Monday after spending 276 days in orbit, state media said, citing the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the country’s northwestern desert. This marked the end of a historic journey.
The unmanned spaceship was sent into space on August 5, 2022, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.
It went back to where it was supposed to land on Monday.
The success of the test is an important step forward in the study of reusable spaceship technology, and it also helps with the peaceful use of space, according to state media.
Reuters says that no information was given about what the spacecraft was, what technologies were being tried, how high it flew, or where it had been since it was launched in early August 2022.
No pictures of the ship have been shown to the public either.
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country’s largest space contractor, told China Daily that the plane’s job was to test reusable technologies and in-orbit service technologies, setting a technological foundation for the peaceful use of space.
The trip is the second time that China has shown the public its experimental spacecraft that can be used more than once.
The last time the country sent a test vehicle into orbit was in September 2020. The craft stayed in space for just under two days.
Experts say that reusable spacecraft will be used for a lot of different things, like taking tourists on trips of space, transporting astronauts, restocking space stations, and putting satellites into orbit at a lower cost.
Netizens on Chinese social media thought that the country was making a spaceship like the US Air Force’s X-37B, which is an autonomous spaceplane that can stay in orbit for years.
After more than 900 days in orbit, the unmanned, reusable X-37B came back to Earth in November of last year. This was its sixth and most recent flight.