China has problem with test “cargo return capsule”

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According to China’s propaganda state-run news, an “inflatable cargo return capsule ” launched on yesterday’s Long March 5B rocket “operated abnormally” during its return to Earth.

That’s all they tell us. The description suggests this is not the test manned capsule launched by the Long March 5B, but the text is vague enough that it could be, since that unmanned capsule was supposedly going to return to Earth in one or two days.

At the moment I have not seen any other updates on the status of that manned capsule. If the problem was with it, this issue could delay their manned space station program, scheduled to go into full operation by 2022.


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  • pzatchok

    If it came back early it must not have gotten into its originally intended orbit.

    Other than that it could have done anything.
    Tumbled on re-entry, deployed the crash cushions while in space, parachutes never deployed. Really anything at this point.

    But I am glad they consider themselves a first world nation.
    We(USA) have not been this bad since the 1950’s.

  • David

    The one poorly translated post I saw indicated that this was not the capsule, which is still planned to re-enter tomorrow.

  • Edward

    The article describes it as a “cargo” capsule, not the manned capsule. David may turn out to be right, tomorrow. However, the Spaceflight Now article that Robert linked to yesterday did not mention a second cargo capsule or second test article.

  • Wodun

    This is cool. By inflatable, they mean expandable? Like the Bigelow stuff. This provides a way to reduce the mass of things going up but increase it going down.

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