Chinese Spacecraft Emitting Strong Signal Over North America

Emitting Signals

Earlier this week, China's top-secret spaceplane, dubbed Shenlong released six mysterious objects after reaching the Earth's orbit for the third time in three years.

We can only hazard a guess as to what these objects — which are being tracked by the US Space Force and designated the names OBJECT A through F by the US Department of Defense — are, or what their purpose is.

Amateur astronomer and satellite tracker Scott Tilley has been closely tracking the objects, examining the signals they've been emitting.

And, as he told the South China Morning Post, they appear to be sending the strongest signals while passing over North America.

"I’m seeing a pattern in its radio emissions while over me and it appears to favor low-elevation western passes," he told the newspaper. "This could indicate a clandestine ground station on the west coast of North America or on a ship off the coast."

To be clear, as Tilley points out, this is purely speculation — as we don't even know what these objects are, or how they relate to China's spaceplane.

Idle Filler

According to the amateur astronomer, objects designated D and E give off radio signals with "idle filler." Object B is "very bright," as he told the SCMP, and could be the upper stage of the Long March 2F rocket that lifted the plane into orbit, according to an update by Switzerland-based space domain awareness group S2a Systems.

Per Tilley, objects C and F could be pieces of jettisoned rocket debris as they are relatively dim and tumbling.

It's the third time China's secretive spaceplane has released objects in orbit over its three missions. During its first mission in 2020, it released one object during its two-day journey. During its second voyage last year, the US Space Force tracked another object that was released by spacecraft.

We're still none the wiser as to what China is trying to achieve during its latest spaceplane mission beyond testing reusable spaceplane technologies and carrying out science experiments, per state-run news agency Xinhua.

But considering China has pulled off three missions in just three years, it's a tech demo that's certainly worth following closely.

More on the spaceplane: Chinese Spaceplane Releases Six Mysterious Objects That Are Emitting Signals