China’s space station narrowly escapes collision with Starlink satellites

(ORDO NEWS) — Chinese citizens on Monday criticized Elon Musk’s space ambitions online. Their displeasure followed official Beijing complaining that China’s Tiangong space station was forced to take evasive measures to avoid collisions with SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites.

According to a document provided by China earlier this month to the UN space agency, Starlink satellites have twice flown dangerously close to the China space station. The first incident was recorded on July 1, and the second on October 21, 2021.

The document says that for security reasons, the China Space Station has implemented preventive collision avoidance measures. Complaints have not yet been independently verified. SpaceX has not yet commented on the situation.

The government’s complaint has sparked an uproar on Chinese social media. One Weibo user called the Starlink satellites “just a pile of space debris”, while some commentators even stated that they were “American weapons for waging space war.”

Considering that around 30,000 satellites revolve around the Earth and a huge amount of space debris, scientists are urging governments to share data on such objects to reduce the risk of space collisions. SpaceX alone has already launched about 1,900 Starlink satellites into space.

Recall that China began construction of its own space station in April this year with the launch of Tianhe, the largest of the three modules. The station is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2022.

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