China Space Secret

China Dragon

Online circulation of a mysterious aircraft mounted by the H-6, the surface coated with a five-star red flags and the word dragon. The shocking photo appearing on Internet effectively proves that China is researching on next generation reusable space vehicle
China X-37?

December 11, 2007, China published on a website by chance a picture. In the photo, there has been a new Chinese unmanned test aircraft. However, the contents of the picture shown has not been officially confirmed. In the picture, it marked a "Dragon" were the words of small aircraft flying in China under H -6 bomber and launch aircraft fuselage.

According to the H-6 size, the scaled TAV model is about 8-9 meter length. Without any scramjet inlets, this VAT has a rocket nozzle at the end tip.

Apparently, Chinese developers have abandon to waste time on the hypersonic air-breathing propulsion system but choose a conventional rocket power system to realize Single-stage-to-orbit.

Purpose unknown, maybe study for a reusable reentry vehicle?

December 12, a shocking photo appearing on Internet effectively proves that China is researching on next generation reusable space vehicle.

This TAV researching in China is called as "803-706 Trans-Atmospheric Vehicle Project", which has begun since about 2000. Like 921 Shenzhou spaceship project, "803-706 project" is also a national scale cooperation project.

Some scientists from Chinese military-technology-related universities, like NWPU and HIT, are also involved in project's relative researching areas, like flight control system, Magnet Blushless DC Motor, heterogeneous material and rocket propulsion system. China's initiate investment on TAV has been over 100 million RMB.

US X-37B

X-37B photo: Boeing

The mission of the unmanned X-37B space plane, which is known officially as the Orbital Test Vehicle 2 (OTV-2), is shrouded in secrecy. The Boeing-built spacecraft is believed to be involved in reconnaissance — perhaps testing powerful sensors for a new generation of spy satellites. It looks much like a small version of NASA's space shuttle.

The exact mission of the X-37B space plane is classified, quite a bit is publicly known about the spacecraft's design, because it originally started out in 1999 as a NASA project.

The vehicle has a blunt nose, payload bay and stubby wings, which make it look somewhat like a NASA space shuttle, although it's only about a quarter of the length. A solar array packed inside the X-37B's truck bed-size payload bay allows it to stay  in space for months at a time.

By 2006, after the Department of Defense and the Air Force took over the program,  a cloak of secrecy descended on both the project's budget and future missions. 

Tom Burghardt wrote for Spacedaily that the X-37B could be used as a spy satellite or to deliver weapons from space.The Pentagon has denied claims that the X-37B's mission supports the development of space-based weapons.

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