China’s first reusable spacecraft landed Sunday after two days in orbit, a possible step toward lower-cost space flight, the government announChina’s first reusable spacecraft landed Sunday after two days in orbit, a possible step toward lower-cost space flight, the government announced.
The secretive, military-run space program has released few details of the spacecraft, which was launched Friday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China’s desert northwest.
State media have yet to publish any photos of the latest craft. Its size and shape are unclear.
China fired its first astronaut into orbit in 2003 and has launched a space station and landed a robot rover on the moon. A probe carrying another robot rover is en route to Mars.
The reusable craft landed as planned at Jiuquan, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The flight “marks an important breakthrough in our country’s research on reusable spacecraft” that promise a “ more convenient and inexpensive way” to reach space, Xinhua said.