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China denies launching hypersonic missile, claiming it was testing spacecraft

China has denied reports that it had recently launched a hypersonic missile, saying that it was testing a spacecraft to trial reusable technologies.

It was reported by the Financial Times on Saturday that a nuclear-capable missile, launched in Beijing, was carried by a Long March rocket and circled the earth at low orbit before missing its target.

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The Financial Times added that the test had been kept under the wraps by China.

Denying that it was a missile, China broke its silence on the launch, claiming that it was an exercise that was testing how reusable technology could reduce the cost of launching a spacecraft.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had told reporters, “According to my understanding, this test is a routine spacecraft test, used to test a reusable spacecraft technology,”.

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Claiming that the Finacial Times report was inaccurate, he added, “This could provide a convenient and cheap way for humans to use space for peaceful purposes.”

A hypersonic missile can travel five times the speed of sound and can deliver a nuclear warhead.

They differ from ballistic missiles as they travel low in the atmosphere instead of flying into space, in an attempt to reach the target in a shorter timespan.

This type of technology is currently being developed in China, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries.

According to a report from the US Congressional Research Service, China has been aggressively developing hypersonic missile technology.

IMAGE – Wikimedia Commons

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