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China Launched its own Spaceplane Today (X-37B equivalent)

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posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 10:29 PM
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For many years, the US has been flying its own unmanned spaceplane. This is the X-37B[1]. the USAF - and presumably now the space force - has been launching and landing the X-37B. Sometimes these have been on very long missions (around two years). There are many aspects of the missions. There have been experiments carried aboard. We know for sure the X-37B has been used as a spysat based on the revelations of ex SecAF Wilson[2] We have discussed the spaceplane often here[3,4,5,6 and a lot more]. We have allowed it on the aviation forum because of the wings.

China, today, launched its own equivalent, the CZ-E[7,8]. The US military confirmed the launch[9], calling the spacecraft the "PRC TEST SPACECRAFT." The spaceplane was lofted by a Long March-2F/T rocket. There has been a lot of art about the Chinese spaceplane, but little in the way of photography. The flight is an orbital test flight. Not a lot of information has been released other than it is a test flight.

China is not the only "country" seeking to mimic the X-37B. The Europeans have been openly working on their Space Rider[10] for a similar role. The Russians perennially talk about building one.

Even if the chinese have just flown a test flight, assuming they are successful, PRC will be closing the capability gap in a huge way. The orbital high ground is one place the US has dominated for the last 30 years. This is becoming no longer the case. The Chinese have been building ASATs and other means of denying the US military orbit, but now they are also building out the capabilities to match the US in orbit. The CZ-E and the X-37B are far, far harder to predict in their orbits than traditional spy sats. They can also potentially be used to inspect other satellites or carry smaller payloads into specific orbits from their launch sites, including weapons.

The US could adapt the Sierra Nevada DreamChaser[11] and it would be far more capable than the X-37B for most missions. There is an unmanned version being developed to deliver cargo to the international space station. The pod on the back is being developed into a mini space station by the US Space Force[12]. That's a topic for another forum though.

Today was a big day. And it was not a good one for the US. FOr China, it seems to be a good one. For them, if they are lucky, they will have an even better one when they land the CZ-E after the flight. We await actual photographs.

Any ATSers with very good telescopes? The X-37B was photographed in orbit after all[3]



1. en.wikipedia.org...
2. taskandpurpose.com...
3. www.abovetopsecret.com...
4. www.abovetopsecret.com...
5. www.abovetopsecret.com...
6. www.abovetopsecret.com...
7. www.nasaspaceflight.com...
8. spacenews.com...
9. www.thedrive.com...
10. www.esa.int...
11. en.wikipedia.org...
12. www.thedrive.com...




posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 10:54 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Great... 21st Century Nazi's with delusions of conquering now has space weapons.

What could go wrong?



posted on Sep, 4 2020 @ 11:43 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
For many years, the US has been flying its own unmanned spaceplane. This is the X-37B[1]. the USAF - and presumably now the space force - has been launching and landing the X-37B. Sometimes these have been on very long missions (around two years). There are many aspects of the missions. There have been experiments carried aboard. We know for sure the X-37B has been used as a spysat based on the revelations of ex SecAF Wilson[2] We have discussed the spaceplane often here[3,4,5,6 and a lot more]. We have allowed it on the aviation forum because of the wings.

China, today, launched its own equivalent, the CZ-E[7,8]. The US military confirmed the launch[9], calling the spacecraft the "PRC TEST SPACECRAFT." The spaceplane was lofted by a Long March-2F/T rocket. There has been a lot of art about the Chinese spaceplane, but little in the way of photography. The flight is an orbital test flight. Not a lot of information has been released other than it is a test flight.

China is not the only "country" seeking to mimic the X-37B. The Europeans have been openly working on their Space Rider[10] for a similar role. The Russians perennially talk about building one.

Even if the chinese have just flown a test flight, assuming they are successful, PRC will be closing the capability gap in a huge way. The orbital high ground is one place the US has dominated for the last 30 years. This is becoming no longer the case. The Chinese have been building ASATs and other means of denying the US military orbit, but now they are also building out the capabilities to match the US in orbit. The CZ-E and the X-37B are far, far harder to predict in their orbits than traditional spy sats. They can also potentially be used to inspect other satellites or carry smaller payloads into specific orbits from their launch sites, including weapons.

The US could adapt the Sierra Nevada DreamChaser[11] and it would be far more capable than the X-37B for most missions. There is an unmanned version being developed to deliver cargo to the international space station. The pod on the back is being developed into a mini space station by the US Space Force[12]. That's a topic for another forum though.

Today was a big day. And it was not a good one for the US. FOr China, it seems to be a good one. For them, if they are lucky, they will have an even better one when they land the CZ-E after the flight. We await actual photographs.

Any ATSers with very good telescopes? The X-37B was photographed in orbit after all[3]



1. en.wikipedia.org...
2. taskandpurpose.com...
3. www.abovetopsecret.com...
4. www.abovetopsecret.com...
5. www.abovetopsecret.com...
6. www.abovetopsecret.com...
7. www.nasaspaceflight.com...
8. spacenews.com...
9. www.thedrive.com...
10. www.esa.int...
11. en.wikipedia.org...
12. www.thedrive.com...


I’m curious, why do you think the Dreamchaser would be far more capable than the X-37B? The Dreamchaser is basically a NASA copy of the Soviet BOR-4 which is now a 40 year old design. It has a much lower L/D than the X-37B.



posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 12:29 AM
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a reply to: 1947boomer

Volume for payloads is significantly higher in the DreamChaser.

There are some nontrivial updates to the Russian design.



posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 02:07 AM
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originally posted by: anzha
The CZ-E and the X-37B are far, far harder to predict in their orbits than traditional spy sats. They can also potentially be used to inspect other satellites or carry smaller payloads into specific orbits from their launch sites, including weapons.


Maybe, maybe not. So far tracking data of the X-37B missions shows only minor changes in the orbital plane. If the capability for more excessive maneuvering exists, it very likely hasn't been tested yet.
Based on my on my non existing knowledge about orbital mechanics - besides playing Kerbal Space program at least - i would not assume it has enough delta v to do be described as extraordinarily maneuverable.
It certainly isn't capable of inspecting military satellites in anything but close proximity to it's own low earth orbit.

Great blogpost about the subject: sattrackcam.blogspot.com...

The X-37 also is very easy to spot and track. The Chinese copy won't be any different:
spacenews.com...



posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 03:33 PM
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originally posted by: mightmight
Great blogpost about the subject: sattrackcam.blogspot.com...
I too was skeptical about the orbit changes. Sure it's possible, but fuel is limited, and you can only do so much with limited fuel. As that post you linked explained, there's not much evidence of any exceptional capabilities for changing orbits so far.



posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 10:42 PM
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And she's back.

www.globaltimes.cn...

Still no photos.



posted on Sep, 6 2020 @ 04:30 AM
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a reply to: anzha

that was quick



posted on Sep, 6 2020 @ 07:26 AM
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Could it of been manned..??? a reply to: mightmight



posted on Sep, 6 2020 @ 08:46 AM
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a reply to: infolurker

I agree the US is far too dangerous,



posted on Sep, 6 2020 @ 10:47 AM
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a reply to: Silentvulcan

Not likely.

This is supposedly a video of the launch. Turn off your sound when you watch it though. oy.

www.bilibili.com...

The rocket used is not 'man rated.'

Interestingly, the space plane landed at Lop Nur, of nuclear test infamy.
edit on 6-9-2020 by anzha because: added text



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 09:06 AM
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spacenews.com...

Supposedly, the CZ-E released something in orbit.



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 09:27 AM
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Any indication on whose R&D program PRC pilfered the designs from?



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

They didn't have to. The Pentagon has conceded China is ahead technology in many areas.

www.wsj.com...

The CZ-E isn't ahead of the X-37B, but we've been stagnate for a while now: it's been ten years since the US flew the X-37B for the first time.

The US has become complacent and allowed China to catch up and surpass it.



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 10:02 AM
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a reply to: anzha

Interesting!

Wonder what they are doing with it, or propose to do up there?
edit on 7-9-2020 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 11:37 AM
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originally posted by: anzha

The CZ-E isn't ahead of the X-37B, but we've been stagnate for a while now: it's been ten years since the US flew the X-37B for the first time.

The US has become complacent and allowed China to catch up and surpass it.


The X-37 / CZ-E is not a good representation of this issue.

The X-37 is not an impressive vehicle in itself. The only impressive thing about it is that it actually went operational. But the US could have built something like it at any point in time since the 1980s. Probably for a fraction of the cost if they had put their mind to it.



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 11:55 AM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

They didn't have to. The Pentagon has conceded China is ahead technology in many areas.

www.wsj.com...

The CZ-E isn't ahead of the X-37B, but we've been stagnate for a while now: it's been ten years since the US flew the X-37B for the first time.

The US has become complacent and allowed China to catch up and surpass it.


In a way, you're not wrong, but failing to mention a concerted and systematic effort by China to infiltrate, co-opt and steal every facet of US technology from consumer electronics to military tech and even germ warfare, would be leaving out a critical piece of the puzzle.



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 12:58 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

Information is power.

Civilisations who are playing catchup tend not to care about patents and copyrights.

Its a called the Human race for a reason.

And the fact of the matter, the rule is, there are no rules.

Money talks, the rest of us just do the walk.



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 01:09 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

They don't need to steal anything, Companies will sell their tech on condition that they can tell the people "China stole it"



posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 03:09 PM
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a reply to: anzha

when did Russia launch its inspektor sat?

it had 3 drones(if you will) that it released once in orbit


wonder if they were watching what we have been up to




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