We’re not used to hearing the word “space plane” so often, it seems like a poor translation of an English technical term (and in a way it is). The space plane It is an aircraft designed to fly at the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, at an altitude of 100 km above sea level. As the name suggests, it is a mix between an airplane and a spaceship.
At the end of August, China launched one into orbit and it is now there for 90 days. The US Air Force recently discovered something strange about this plane by tracking an object nearby.
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Space-track.org, a database that tracks every satellite and man-made object, only reported this object on October 31, when it was clearly something separate from the spacecraft. Nothing was known about the nature of the small object that was launched and the Chinese space agency has not published anything about it.
Some experts make their own assumptions. It could be a small satellite that would monitor the spacecraft from the outside, or a test launch of satellite payloads from the plane.
According to the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), the Aerospace Plain project “supports the construction of scientific, technological and space energy and transportation power and has social, technological, economic and other practical values.”