The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation did not say how high the spacecraft would be or its flight path, and no photos of the mission were provided.
A Chinese spacecraft capable of flying to the edge of the atmosphere took off and returned to Earth on the same day in what China described as a major step toward developing reusable space transportation technology.
The spacecraft lifted off from the launch center in northwest China on Friday and completed its journey according to “specified procedures,” according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s main aerospace contractor.
CASC said in a statement that it then landed on Earth “horizontally”.
A spacecraft that can fly into suborbital space must be able to travel up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth’s surface. CASC did not say how high the spacecraft would be, nor did it detail its flight path. No images of the spacecraft or its flight were provided.
“The development of reusable space transportation technology is an important symbol of China’s transition from a ‘big’ space-faring nation to a ‘powerful’ space-faring nation,” CASC said.
Reusable spacecraft will lead to increased mission frequency and lower mission costs due to their reusability.
In September last year, China sent an experimental spacecraft into orbital space on a rocket.
The spacecraft returned to Earth after two days in orbit on its low-level mission.
Commentators on Chinese social media have speculated that Beijing is developing a spacecraft like the US Air Force’s X-37B, an autonomous space plane that can stay in orbit for extended periods before returning to Earth on its own.
It is not known whether the orbital and suborbital spacecraft launched by China have fixed wings like the US space shuttle.