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US Space Force Detects Mystery Object in Orbit Near China’s Satellite

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According to an initial report from SpaceNews, the US Space Force has detected a mysterious object orbiting in parallel with China’s new Shijian-21 spacecraft.

The ‘Shijian-21’ spacecraft was launched last month to investigate ways to clean up space debris in Earth‘s orbit.

The object is noted by some as a rocket body, more specifically an apogee kick motor (AKM), a rocket motor that is regularly employed on artificial satellites destined for a geostationary orbit.

The spacecraft is currently in geostationary orbit near Shijian-21. This is unusual because AKMs are designed to avoid colliding with nearby satellites.

Observers are perplexed by the suspected AKM’s strange behaviour. To begin with, it could be an entirely unrelated object. Because the Chinese government keeps all of its space activities secret, we may never learn the true origin and purpose of the object.

While countries claim that their new technology is aimed at cleaning up space debris, equipping satellites with the ability to knock down other countries’ satellites is a powerful capability, as space becomes the latest place for countries to exercise their power, dubbed “space wars.”

As is customary, the United States, Russia, and China are at the forefront of this conflict. The warning signs of impending difficulties are already visible. For example, Breaking Defense reported last week that a Chinese satellite was tailing an American satellite and adjusting its orbit to keep up.

The Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology created the Shijian-21 spacecraft (SAST). At the Zhuhai Airshow in September, SAST unveiled a concept for a “supplemental service spacecraft.”


About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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