China's robotic spacecraft “Shenlong”, on its third mission, added more excitement to its space activities four days after it entered Earth orbit.
Very little is known about the plane and its cargo. Shenlong (which means divine dragon) was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on December 14 as its third mission, and quickly placed at least six mysterious objects into orbit.
China has not released any details about the test reusable shuttle program, and not a single photo of the launch has been released.
The mysterious spacecraft appears to resemble the US Space Force's X-37B low-orbit test vehicle, however, little is known about its specifications.
The spacecraft is launched on a conventional space launch rocket and launched into orbit using a secondary booster. It returns to Earth unpowered just like the X-37B.
The first space flight will be launched in 2020, the second in 2022. Shenlong launched similar unknown objects into orbit. And no one knows why.
Although not much information is available about the missions, they may have been involved in positioning satellites in orbit while participating in scientific experiments.
Chinese reports revealed that the spacecraft also performed several small and very large orbital maneuvers during its second flight.
The existence of these objects has been confirmed by amateur spacecraft observers and keen astronomers.
Astronaut Scott Tilley says scattered objects send mysterious signals.
The emitted signals, which observers have named OBJECT A, B, C, D, E and F, are similar to those launched by Shenlong on its previous mission in November last year.
Detailed analysis of the signals from several satellite observers indicates that the transmissions are coming from objects or something else very close to them.
The transmissions are linked to the expected trajectories of different objects, and on the same unique frequency, are consistent with the types of signals previously sent by Chinese space flights.
Some experts say they send signals to each other, and interesting exchanges are yet to come.
It is worth noting that the X-37B, the apparent American counterpart of the “Shenlong”, is scheduled to launch on December 7 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
However, the mission has been repeatedly postponed, and December 28 has been set as the date for the next scheduled launch.
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