In The Space Review‘s write up of the space portions of the Pentagon’s just-released annual report on Chinese military power, author Dwayne Day notes that Russian and Chinese media have run stories in recent days about an unmanned spacecraft rendezvous involving an experimental satellite China launched June 15.
“One recent development that occurred too late for inclusion, but will be interesting to watch, is the apparent Chinese effort to conduct automated rendezvous of two spacecraft in low Earth orbit, Shijian-12 and SJ-6F. The two satellites may have come within only a few hundred meters of each other in recent days, and there is even some evidence that they actually made contact on August 19. So far this has been unmentioned in the West. A Russian media article quoted the highly-regarded Russian space researcher Igor Lissov who said that there was no indication that the rendezvous was connected to China’s manned space program, raising the prospect that it might be an effort to develop satellite inspection or anti-satellite capabilities. Maybe this will be mentioned in next year’s Pentagon report. Or maybe not.”
The Russian article Day mentions was published Aug. 16 by infox.ru and can be found here.
Drop the link into Google Translate if your Russian is not up to snuff.
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