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China's 'Divine Dragon' Spaceplane Releases 6 'Mysterious' Objects That Are Emitting Signals

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What’s going on up there?

China has reportedly released six “mystery objects” during the third mission of its reusable Shenlong, or “Divine Dragon,” robotic space plane, according to Space.com.

The Shenlong was launched Dec. 14 and released the mystery objects four days later.

The Department of Defense dubbed the items Object A, B, C, D, E and F, according to Gizmodo.

One amateur, Scott Tilley, has given the objects a more colorful nickname: “mysterious wingman” emitters.

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That title is “a nod to the ‘loyal wingman’ terminology used for the drones that operate collaboratively with piloted aircraft,” The Drive explained, adding, “the Shenlong, of course, is uncrewed.”

Tilley is one of many amateur observers who, along with the U.S. Space Force, have been watching the mission closely.

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They have reported the objects appear to be emitting curious signals.

“OBJECT A’s or nearby emission is reminiscent of earlier Chinese space plane ‘wingman’ emissions in the sense the signal is modulated with a limited amount of data,” Tilley said in an email exchange with Space.com.

Objects D and E, he added, only seem to be emitting “placeholder” signals with no actual data.

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“The unique nature of these signals, particularly their modulation at 2,280 MHz (a frequency previously associated with Chinese space plane missions), and their appearance near the objects’ predicted orbital paths, has led trackers like Tilley to confidently associate these signals with the newly launched objects,” Gizmodo explained.

On its previous flight, in November 2022, Space News theorized that a similar object launched from the spaceplane could have been a service module, test article for use in placing practice payloads into orbit, or even a small satellite to monitor the spaceplane.

The Shenlong “is launched atop a traditional space launch rocket and is propelled into orbit using a secondary booster,” The Drive reported. “It returns to Earth in an unpowered mode, much like the [U.S. Space Force’s] X-37B.”

The outlet said China claims the Shenlong is intended for commercial use.

“However, it has very obvious military applications, especially as a convenient and potentially efficient way to get into orbit and stay there for extended periods,” The Drive reported.

It speculated that the Shenlong may eventually be able to retrieve and manipulate objects in space.

“Such a capability would allow China to keep an intelligence-gathering satellite, for example, in orbit for a long period before recovering it and bringing it back to Earth for further analysis and potential reuse.”

The Chinese could even use the spaceplane to interfere with space objects from other nations, expanding on orbital warfare attacks that have already been engaged in by China and Russia, such as electronic warfare jamming, using lasers to temporarily blind optics or launching cyber-attacks.

The Space Force confirmed in 2021 that such attacks had been going on against U.S. satellites “every single day,” according to the report.


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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.




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