China’s Secret Spaceplane Ejects Mysterious Object Into Earth’s Orbit. US Hunts It Down

On May 24, China’s secret spaceplane, Shenlong, ejected a mysterious object into Earth’s orbit, prompting the US Space Force to track it down amid growing concerns about its purpose and implications.

China’s Secret Spaceplane Ejects Mysterious Object Into Earth’s Orbit. US Hunts It Down 1

China’s top-secret spacecraft launched an enigmatic object approximately 372 miles above Earth into Earth’s orbit.

The US Space Force is keeping an eye on the situation, although it is still unclear why the enigmatic object was ejected on May 24.

When a Harvard astrophysicist first saw the enigmatic object, he conjectured that it might be a subsatellite deployment or possibly some hardware that the spaceplane had dropped before its mission ended and it deorbited.

Following his initial observation of the object, Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics posted on X, saying, “This object could be a subsatellite deployment, or it could be a piece of hardware ejected before the end of the mission and deorbit (the spaceplane’s first flight did something similar).”

Since its launch in December of last year, the spacecraft, dubbed Shenlong after a spirit dragon from Chinese mythology, has released several things into orbit. The Chinese spacecraft has sent a clear message to the US with this behavior.

China has maintained its secrecy about the spaceplane, claiming that its purpose is to offer “technical support for the peaceful use of space.”

“After operating in orbit for a period of time, the experimental spacecraft will return to the designated landing site in China,” stated China’s state media outlet Xinhuanet. 

“During this period, it will carry out reusable technology verification and space science experiments as planned, providing technical support for the peaceful use of space,” it added.

One day after the US canceled the flight of its “spy” plane, China launched the craft. This was “no coincidence,” according to the head of the US Space Force.

“It’s probably no coincidence that they’re trying to match us in timing and sequence of this,” said General Chance Saltzman, Space Force’s Chief of Space Operations.

US Space Force tracks down mysterious object

The United States Space Force is currently pursuing the enigmatic object.

The signals, according to amateur astronomer Scott Tilley, were most likely directed for a ground station or boat that was near British Columbia, Canada. Tilley was tracking the spaceplane when the six debris were ejected in December and signals were sent across North America.

“When the spaceplane passes over me, it only emits on a certain trajectory of pass that appears to favor a location south to southwest of me,” Tilley said.

“I.e., on higher elevation passes over me, there are no signals, but on ocean-hugging passes to my southwest, all of my observations of the object have occurred,” he added.

Tilley joined a Swiss organization that specializes in optical-band space surveillance, and since the plane’s launch on December 15, the cooperation has been able to keep an eye on it.

Recently, GreatGameIndia reported that China’s first AI commercial satellite in the world, Xingshidai-18, was launched off the coast of Guangdong province on February 3.

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