Threat Tuesday – Chinese Spaceplanes

Back in 2007, this official Chinese photograph made a splash –


Shenlong Experimental Spacecraft (Chinese sources)


It should come as no surprise that the Chinese have a spaceplane program, and the US can only blame ourselves.  The father of the Chinese space program, Tsien Hsue-shen, worked in the US until he was exiled in the Red Scares of the 1950’s.


Chinese Spaceplane circa 2000 (Astronautix)


In 2000, the Chinese showed this model.  It looks to be a Chinese version of the European Hermes manned spaceplane.  In the years since 2000 the world has made significant advances in UAV-technology.  Is it possible that the original manned model has been replaced by a UAV version?  Or did the Chinese just steal the X-37B design given how closely the new spaceplane looks like an X-37B?

X-37B (USAF)


Either way, the time may be closer than we think when there are battles in space.  The real question may be will it be manned or unmanned craft?

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