The U.S. aerospace company Maxar Technologies has released satellite photos of a mysterious airport in the Lop Nor desert in Xinjiang, where 12 large buildings are being built for unclear purposes. Some U.S. media alleged that this is the Chinese version of “Area 51”, triggering external associations.
According to foreign media reports, satellite photos released by Maxar Technologies show a mysterious airport with a large runway of nearly 5 kilometers around Lop Nor in Xinjiang, and about 12 concrete buildings are being built around it. The airport is said to have appeared in 2016 and is located on the edge of the former nuclear weapons test site in Lop Nor.
According to the report, construction of the 12 buildings will begin in the summer of 2020; coincidentally, the U.S. has information that China will land a “space vehicle” at the airport in 2020, close to the time when construction will begin. Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, a U.S. think tank, said the buildings are similar to other Communist Party military facilities and their purpose is not yet known.
But Panda speculated that the mysterious desert airfield in Xinjiang, which is remote and ideal for aerospace testing of classified equipment, is being closely observed and could be a very important facility for China’s military space activities, and is being expanded; NPR described the complex, including the airfield, as a replica of the mysterious U.S. Area 51.
NPR later asked the Chinese Embassy in the United States for confirmation, but the Chinese Embassy declined to comment.