Spacecraft over Earth© Pexels

Mysterious Chinese Spacecraft Returns To Earth After 276 Days

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

There are many unexplainable phenomena going on in the world that it’s easy to be desensitised to any mysterious new finding. A new type of scary-looking fish found in the deepest part of the ocean? What’s new? Strange metallic monoliths found scattered across the globe? Just a regular Tuesday. However, the mysterious reappearance of a Chinese spacecraft has managed to pique the interest of space watchers across the world.

An experimental Chinese spacecraft has returned to Earth after staying in orbit for 276 days.

According to China’s state media, this was part of a landmark mission to test the country;;s reusable space technology.

The uncrewed spacecraft returned to the Jiuquan launch centre in northwest China on Monday as scheduled.

Now if you’re wondering what’s strange about this, it’s the fact that nod entails were given on what the spacecraft was, what technology was tested, how high it flew, or where its orbit had taken it since its launch back in early August 2022. The state media has also not released any images of the craft to the public yet.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the nation’s biggest space defence contractor, released a statement claiming that the test marked an “important” breakthrough in China’s research into reusable spacecraft technology that will provide inexpensive and more efficient ways to mount future space missions. China and the US have been in a race to develop reusable space technology since 2011.

According to speculators, the spacecraft is very similar to the US Air Force’s X-37B, an autonomous spaceplane that can remain in orbit for years. There are also speculations that this mission was similar to the 2021 mission where a spacecraft flew to the edge of space and returned to Earth on the same day in a mission that was also largely kept under wraps. The only detail most people know is that the spacecraft landed on the Earth horizontally.

With little information available about the recent mission, some have started suspecting that the spacecraft was used to gather intelligence and could have been equipped with advanced imaging and sensing equipment to monitor sensitive areas of interest.

What do you think could be the reason for the secretive mission?