China’s first reusable spacecraft landed today after a two-day flight, in what is considered an eventual step towards low-cost space flights, reported the AP agency.
China’s secret military space program released few details about the spacecraft, which was launched on Friday aboard a rocket called “Long March 2F” from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern desert of China.
The ship landed as scheduled in Jiuquan, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Chinese media have yet to publish a photo of the spacecraft, the size and shape of which are still unknown.
The flight “marks an important advance in our country’s research on reusable spaceships”, which promise an “easier and cheaper way” to reach space, Xinhua reported.
China put its first astronaut into orbit in 2003 and launched a space station.
In 2019, it became the first country to land a land vehicle on a little-seen side of the moon.
Meanwhile, a probe with another robot vehicle is on its way to Mars.
The United States and the former Soviet Union already use reusable spacecraft.
The American space vehicle carried out 134 missions from the 1980s to 2011.
Since then, the state military has developed the X-37, a robotic glider that made its sixth flight in May.
The Soviet space plane, Buran, orbited Earth twice during its only flight in 1988.
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