China Slams US After Space Station’s ‘Close Encounters’ With Musk’s Satellites

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Beijing on Tuesday accused the United States of irresponsible and unsafe conduct in house over two “close encounters” between the Chinese house station and satellites operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Tiangong, China’s new space station, needed to manoeuvre to keep away from colliding with one Starlink satellite tv for pc in July and with one other in October, based on a be aware submitted by Beijing to the United Nations house company this month.

The be aware stated the incidents “constituted dangers to the life or health of astronauts aboard the China Space Station”.

“The US… ignores its obligations under international treaties, posing a serious threat to the lives and safety of astronauts,” Chinese overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated at a routine briefing on Tuesday.

Starlink, a division of SpaceX, operates a constellation of near 2,000 satellites that goals to offer web entry to most elements of Earth.

SpaceX is a personal American firm, unbiased of the US army and civilian house company NASA.

But China stated in its be aware to the UN that members of the Outer Space Treaty — the inspiration of worldwide house legislation — are additionally liable for actions by their non-government entities.

SpaceX has not responded to a request for remark.

Evasive manoeuvres to cut back the danger of collisions in house have gotten extra frequent as extra objects enter Earth’s orbit, stated Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

“We’ve really noticed the increase in the number of close passes since Starlink started getting deployed,” he instructed AFP.

Any collision would possible “completely demolish” the Chinese house station and kill everybody on board, McDowell added.

The core module of China’s station Tiangong — which means “heavenly palace” — entered orbit earlier this yr, and it’s anticipated to turn into totally operational subsequent yr.

‘Prepare to boycott Tesla’

Beijing’s grievance about Starlink prompted criticism on Chinese social media of SpaceX’s billionaire founder Elon Musk, who’s broadly admired in China.

One hashtag concerning the subject on the Twitter-like Weibo platform racked up 90 million views Tuesday.

“How ironic that Chinese people buy Tesla, contributing large sums of money so Musk can launch Starlink, and then he (nearly) crashes into China’s space station,” one consumer commented on Weibo.

Musk’s electrical automotive maker Tesla sells tens of hundreds of automobiles in China every month, although the agency’s repute has taken successful this yr following a spate of crashes, scandals and information safety issues.

“Prepare to boycott Tesla,” stated one other Weibo consumer, echoing a standard response in China to overseas manufacturers perceived to be performing opposite to nationwide pursuits.

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