Secretively launches reusable suborbital transportation system


Secretively launches reusable suborbital transportation system: As part of constructing a reusable space transportation system, China conducted a covert first test flight of a reusable suborbital vehicle on Friday. The flight was a clandestine first test flight.

Secretively launches reusable suborbital transportation system

Friday was the day that the vehicle left the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, as stated in the notification that was made by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC). After that, it touched down at an airfield that was situated in the Alexa League region of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which was some 800 kilometers away and a little over 500 miles away.

Secretively launches reusable suborbital transportation system

It was not provided with any still images, films, or any other supplemental information, such as the flight’s altitude, duration, or propulsion systems. However, according to the statement released by CASC, the vehicle demonstrates a vertical takeoff and horizontal landing (VTHL) profile and utilizes a combination of aviation and space technology. A diagram was used to deliver this piece of information to the audience.

The test is a follow-up to a “reusable experimental spacecraft” test flight that took place in September of 2020. The spacecraft went into orbit for several days, during which time it released a modest transmitting payload. It then deorbited and landed in a horizontal position. Even though no photographs have surfaced, there is widespread agreement that the spacecraft in question is a proposal for a reusable spaceplane.

The massive space and defense contractor CASC was also responsible for developing that vehicle. The company has indicated that the new car that was tested on Friday has the potential to serve as the initial stage of a reusable space transit system. The phrase seems to imply that the two vehicles will be joined to create a reusable space transit system.

These recent events have not been entirely unexpected. In 2017, China said it planned to conduct tests of a reusable spaceplane in 2020. The X-37B spaceplane, which belongs to the United States Air Force, is now engaged in the sixth orbital mission of its career. The Experimental Spaceplane (XSP) program, also known as the XS-1 program, is another VTHL concept. Boeing withdrew from the effort one year ago.

Secretively launches reusable suborbital transportation system

The new test comes just a few days after the first flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, which carried paying passengers to the very edge of space for the very first time.

The Espace transportation roadmap’ developed by the CASC in 2017 called for creating a spaceplane. In addition, the designs were for launch vehicles that were completely reusable and a shuttle powered by nuclear energy around the year 2045.

In 2017, Chen Hongbo, a researcher at CASC’s China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), stated in an interview with Science and Technology Daily (Chinese) that the reusable spaceship will have the capability to transport both crew members and payloads. Science and Technology Daily (Chinese) was the publication that published Chen’s statement. Chen predicted that certain vehicles might combine the qualities of airplanes and spacecraft into a single car. The suborbital reusable demonstration vehicle launched on Friday was developed by CALT, as mentioned.

Chen claimed that the goal was full reusability, which would be an advancement beyond the partial reusability of launchers similar to the Falcon 9. It is anticipated that the spaceplane, whose development and testing will be finished by the year 2030, will have the capability of being reused more than twenty times.


It will be capable of reaching orbital heights ranging from 300 to 500 kilometers, meet the criteria of being “quick, dependable, and inexpensive,” and meet the needs of both military and civilian payloads. Additionally, it will be suitable for use in space tourism.

Another enormous state-owned company in China, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC), is hard at developing its spaceplane and has given it the name Tengyun. By 2025, it is anticipated that the reusable two-stage-to-orbit Tengyun spacecraft will have successfully undergone demonstration and certification. Horizontal takeoff and landing (HTHL) will be the mode of operation for the Tengyun system.

Commercial enterprises in China, as well as the CASC, are working on the development of reusable rockets. The upcoming weeks will see a lot of “hop” experiments being conducted by various commercial companies.

Astrogation Vehicle Reusable Space Transport System Developed in China

The CASC made public its intentions to design a reusable space transportation system in the preceding calendar year. The project would require the creation of a fleet of spacecraft that could take off and land like regular airplanes but can travel at a speed at least five times greater than the speed of sound at a suborbital altitude. This would allow them to travel to any part of the planet in under an hour.


A network of these planes would be less expensive to operate than a network of conventional rockets due to the ease with which they can be maintained and the less time required for preparation.

According to a statement made by space analyst and TV pundit Song Zhongping to the Global Times, suborbital spacecraft is intended to deliver cargo to an altitude of about 100 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. According to the knowledgeable individual, the spaceship has several potential applications, one of which is transporting satellites.

According to Song, a suborbital spacecraft that launch in a vertical orientation and land in a horizontal direction can be developed into space vehicles.

It is anticipated that the space planes will be finished by the year 2045. Nevertheless, the initial step in the project entails the creation of a rocket-powered vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.

Secretively launches reusable suborbital transportation system
Secretively launches reusable suborbital transportation system


According to a statement made by CASC in an announcement on WeChat, “it is capable of serving as a substage of a reusable space transport system propelled by lift rocket engines.” This represents an advanced combination of space and aviation technologies.

The previous year, China announced that it had successfully tested another space plane launched from a rocket and orbited the Earth for two days before returning safely to Earth. This test was claimed to have been successful.

Program for a Military Planet in Space DARPA XS-1

A comparable endeavor for the United States military was known as the XS-1 program. The goal of this program was to build a reusable space plane that was capable of launching small satellites into orbit.


According to, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) stated earlier this year that the initiative was canceled due to Boeing’s resignation.

The flight was hailed as a “great breakthrough” by state media, and it is believed that the ship is identical to the X-37B robotic orbiter operated by the United States Air Force.

The vessels, essentially hypersonic drones, might be used to assault satellites, space stations, or terrestrial targets, and such technology could be utilized as a vital weapon in space.


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