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On July 16, 2021, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center launched a prototype of China's suborbital spaceplane, the Tianxing-4.[1][2] The spaceplane landed 800 kilometres away.

In 2016 China announced its first suborbital spaceplane would weigh 11 tons, have a wingspan of 21 feet, and be capable of carrying five passengers.[2][3]

The launch followed shortly after Virgin Galactic first operational flight carrying passengers in its suborbital spaceplane, and shortly before the first operational flight of Blue Origin's passenger flight of its suborbital spaceplane.


  1. Andrew Jones (2021-07-16). "China launches secretive suborbital vehicle for reusable space transportation system". Space News (Helsinki). https://spacenews.com/china-launches-secretive-suborbital-vehicle-for-reusable-space-transportation-system/. Retrieved 2021-07-17. "The vehicle launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center Friday and later landed at an airport just over 800 kilometers away at Alxa League in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC) announced." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Joseph Trevithick (2021-07-16). "China Says It Conducted A Successful Suborbital Test Of A Reusable Spaceplane". The Warzone. Archived from the original on 2021-07-17. https://web.archive.org/web/20210717120750/https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/41581/china-says-it-conducted-a-successful-suborbital-test-of-a-reusable-spaceplane. Retrieved 2021-07-18. "At that time, the projected design was described as an 11-ton vehicle with a wingspan of 21 feet that would be capable of carrying five people." 
  3. Jean Deville (2020-05-11). "China’s Spaceplane Projects: Past, Present and Future". The China Aerospace Blog. Archived from the original on 2021-07-16. https://web.archive.org/web/20210716143519/https://china-aerospace.blog/2020/05/11/chinas-spaceplane-projects-past-present-and-future/. Retrieved 2021-07-18. "There is also talk of Tianxing-4, a suborbital spaceplane dedicated to space tourism, although it is not mentioned on Space Transportation’s official website at the time of writing."