China launches secretive spacecraft on mysterious mission in third ever time | World | News

December 15, 2023
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Beijing and Washington are said to be increasingly interested in each other’s space mission efforts, as China launches a secret space mission.

The spacecraft blasted off on December 14 via a Long March 2F rocket, making it the third ever launch for the spacecraft. The rocket launched the spacecraft from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the northwestern Gansu province.

China is thought to be ramping up its space mission timeline as this blast off happened just seven months after its last lift-off.

Before the secretive launch, SpaceX, Elon Musk‘s space exploration company, backed out of its seventh planned mission for the X-37B reusable space plane, a US Space Force spacecraft. It also removed the Falcon Heavy rocket from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.

According to reports, mission USSF-52 was scrapped Wednesday for experts to “perform additional system checkouts”.

China’s spacecraft is commonly known as the Shenlong, meaning ‘Divine Dragon’ in Mandarin.

The information that has been publicised about the mission explains how the spacecraft is being used to test new payloads and operations in orbit.

General Chance Saltzman, US Space Force’s Chief of Space Operations, said earlier this week that SpaceX’s and China’s lift-off timing was a coincidence.

Air and Space Forces Magazine reported General Change Saltzman, US Space Force’s Chief of Space Operations, said: “Because it is a capability; the ability to put something in orbit, do some things, and bring it home and take a look at the results is powerful

“And so these are two of the most watched objects in orbit while they’re in orbit.”

The most recent Chinese launch took a total of 276 days. During the operation, the ship ejected an unidentified object into orbit.



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