Near-crash in space: Musk faces backlash after China complains to UN

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Dec 28, 2021, 02:43 PM(IST)

SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Starlink satellite Photograph:( Agencies )

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Elon Musk, the billionaire, has come under fire in China after the government recently claimed that its still-under-construction space station had two "close contacts" with satellites launched by SpaceX's Starlink programme earlier this year.

After space satellites launched by tech mogul Elon Musk's aerospace business SpaceX almost crashed into its space station twice in the past year, Beijing has asked the United Nations to remind the US to abide by the treaty governing outer space.

Chinese residents also took to social media to criticise billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk's space ambitions.

In a recent report presented to the UN's Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space earlier this month, China stated its space station employed preventative collision avoidance control procedures in July and October to avoid colliding with Starlink satellites.

According to a statement provided by China earlier this month to the United Nations' space agency, satellites from Starlink Internet Services, a part of Musk's SpaceX aerospace business, had two "close encounters" with the Chinese space station on July 1 and October 21.

Scientists have urged governments to exchange data to lessen the possibility of catastrophic space collisions, with roughly 30,000 satellites and other junk believed to be orbiting the Earth.

SpaceX alone has roughly 1,900 satellites in orbit to operate its Starlink internet network, with more on the way.

NASA, the United States' space agency, was forced to cancel a spacewalk at the end of November due to threats posed by space debris. In response, Musk tweeted that the orbits of several Starlink satellites had been altered to lessen the risk of collisions.

With the launch of Tianhe, the largest of the space station's three modules, China began construction in April. After four crewed trips, the station is projected to be finished by the end of 2022.

At the Shanghai auto show in April, Musk has become a well-known figure in China, despite the fact that Tesla's electric-vehicle company has come under increasing scrutiny from regulators, particularly after a client protested bad customer service by climbing on top of a Tesla car.

(With inputs from agencies)

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