Private space services company LeoLabs says its data shows a Chinese reusable space vehicle, believed to be a miniature spaceplane design, docked with or otherwise captured a separate object on multiple occasions during its recent 276-day-long stint in orbit. A highly maneuverable space vehicle with this kind of capability could be used to surveil, disrupt and outright attack an opponent’s space-based assets, as well as retrieve or otherwise interact with friendly ones.
The state-run China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, or CASC, announced the space vehicle had landed yesterday, but provided no details about its time in orbit. The company has provided similarly scant details following its launch on August 4, 2022. You can read more about what is known about this reported spaceplane, or at least Chinese work on designs of this kind, as well as the infrastructure to support its operations, in The War Zone’s initial reporting on its return to Earth.
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[Editor’s Note: Rendezvous and docking/attaching… Hmmm… ]