China's reusable spacecraft successfully returns
China's reusable experimental spacecraft, which was launched into orbit two days ago, successfully returned to its predetermined landing site on 6 September 2020. The spacecraft was launched on board a Long March-2F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on 4 September 2020. The successful return marks an important breakthrough in China's research on reusable spacecraft technology, which will provide a more convenient and economical way for the peaceful use of space.
- The X-37B is an unmanned space plane that operates like a smaller version of the space shuttle, which is launched by a rocket and cruises back to earth for a runway landing.
- It has flown four classified missions to date, carrying secret payloads on long-duration flights in Earth orbit.
- The 4 September 2020 launch comes weeks after China launched Tianwen-1, the country's first Mars mission, from Hainan in late July.
- The China National Space Administration said its spacecraft, including an orbiter, lander and rover, was performing well on its way to Mars.
- A month before that, China completed the network of satellites for its BeiDou navigation network, a competitor to the Global Positioning System (GPS) system of the US.