(Yicai Global) March 7 -- China is developing a reusable spacecraft that takes off from ordinary airports, Zhang Hongwen, the director of the Number 3 Institute of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. told CCTV news.
As researching and developing the spaceplane is an arduous task, preliminary technical studies are still ongoing. The solar-powered drone has been undergoing test flights, with its demonstration to be carried out at the end of this year and the start of next year, Zhang said.
The shuttle will be used for space travel and carries both passengers and freight. It will launch satellites, deliver goods to a space station, and conduct emergency rescues amid the void, said Zhang.
The coverage of the near-space solar-powered drone is inferior to that of satellites, Zhang added. As it is closer to the ground, however, the unmanned craft can offer network or communication access services free of territorial limits and conduct remote image sensing and meteorological observation.