Dec 03, 2021 I Paul Seaburn

China’s Mysterious Hypersonic Spaceplane Can Also Park in Orbit

In the past year, we have seen the U.S. government and its Department of Defense appear to get serious about unidentified aerial phenomena. We have seen the newest branch of the U.S. Armed Force, the Space Force, appear to get serious about space defense. And most recently, we have seen the Chinese military test what appeared to be a hypersonic glide vehicle that may have either been carrying a warhead or, as was recently speculated, may have dropped a separate warhead payload or spilt into two payloads. If falling behind in hypersonic space vehicles isn’t bad enough, a Space Force leader just revealed that this Chinese hypersonic whatever can also park in orbit and potentially fire weapons from space. Is the Chinese military slowly revealing that the Tic Tac UAPs are theirs? Is it time to worry … or is it too late?

“This is a categorically different system, because a fractional orbit is different than suborbital. A fractional orbit means it can stay on orbit as long as the user determines and then it de-orbits it as a part of the flight path.”

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Kind of like this?

Lt. Gen. Chance (Salty) Saltzman, deputy Space Force chief for operations (and this year’s winner of the Best Military Nickname), revealed in an online speech reported by Breaking Defense and Asian media that the Chinese hypersonic glider can do more than just travel around the world in a suborbital arc – it can achieve space orbit. And that’s not the ‘big deal’ of Salty’s revelation – “fractional orbit” means this space plane can then leave orbit and return to Earth. Imagine a space shuttle – or the Space Force’s X-37 secret orbiting spacecraft – with hypersonic speed.

Worried yet? General Salty has one more revelation up his many-striped sleeve. Because this hypersonic vehicle can deliver a payload, or perhaps even fire a separate missile, it becomes a system known in the military jargon as a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) … something the general warns is a “very forward-edge technology capability” because it is also a highly maneuverable hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) – not an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that the U.S. military has spent billions over decades building systems to defend against. It sounds like the Space Force isn’t ready for FOBS/HGV.

“And so it’s incumbent on the Space Force, in my mind, to make sure that we’re developing the capabilities to track these kinds of weapons. Before they’re launched, ideally, but then throughout their lifecycle — either on orbit or in execution of their mission set. (It is imperative for Space Force) to make sure that we’re developing those capacities to be able to track and hold accountable nations who are using these kinds of destabilizing weapons.”

Nations? There’s more than one? And “tracking” means these are offensive weapons traveling at Mach 5. How fast does the defensive weapon have to be to intercept it?

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How hard is it to hit a bullet with a bullet?

Perhaps the most intriguing phrase of this revelation/discussion is “fractional orbital” – another meaning of this might be ‘transmedium from orbital to Mach 5 and back’. And “transmedium” is what many of the Tic Tac UFOs are – changing from air to underwater and vice versa. This takes us back to the original question – could this be the Chinese military slowly revealing that the Tic Tacs are theirs?

Or is the U.S. military doing the revealing?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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