China has test-flown a new manned spacecraft

China has test-flown a new manned spacecraft.  It had no one in it; this was a test flight only.  This was also the maiden flight of the Long March 7 rocket, launching from the brand-new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island, which will allow China to launch from a lower latitude.   The rocket performed flawlessly.  The reentry module of the spacecraft, a scaled-down version of what will be flown later, is intriguing as it is a departure from their previous Soyuz-derived vehicles.  Gone is the “headlamp” shape; it’s a truncated cone instead, like the vehicles under development in the US right now.

Launch:

Return of the reentry capsule:

 

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