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A Chinese space plane?

One of China’s pseudo-companies, named Space Transportation, has now announced that it plans to build and launch a fully reusable suborbital space plane to be used for both space tourism and point-to-point transportation, with the first flight targeted for ’24.

Space Transportation announced last August that it had raised $46.3 million for its hypersonic space plane plans, and the company has recently been conducting a number of tests of its Tianxing 1 and Tianxing 2 vehicles. A 10th flight test was conducted on Jan. 23, followed by another test in collaboration with a combustion laboratory belonging to Tsinghua University.

Details about these test flight activities have been limited, possibly due to the sensitive nature of hypersonic-related technologies.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), China’s main space contractor, in 2020 and 2021 conducted highly secretive launch tests of suborbital and orbital vehicles from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center as part of a space plane development program. [emphasis mine]

It could very well be that the so-called Chinese super duper hypersonic military test flights that various anonymous and public officials in the U.S. military have claimed took place in the past few years were merely these ground tests by Space Transportation, ginned up to appear more dangerous and threatening.

If so, this fear-mongering by the American military community is somewhat shameful and dishonest, and in the long run is not the right way to go about its business. Their exaggeration of the threat leads to skepticism, which actually makes it more difficult to get their own hypersonic program funded.

Today’s story however is important. We must recognize that this attempt by China to apply hypersonic technology to commercial transportation applications is quite smart, and can eventually be dangerous to us. It will help stimulate development, which can then be applied to military applications.

It is also one of the rare times China has taken the lead in innovation. Except for one British rocket startup, as far as I know no western company is trying to develop hypersonic concepts for commercial purposes.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

2 comments

  • Jeff Wright

    Their long view was never about short term profitability-but about capability…something only Elon gets. I remember the 80s when American space advocates were only told ‘no.’

  • Star Bird

    With the help from Joe and Hunter Biden China has stolen all our Space Travel

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