China asks U.S. to block Musk satellite from approaching space station

Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. © News1
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on the 28th (local time) that the Chinese government has asked the United States to block Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite from approaching China’s space station, Tiangong.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhao Lijian said in a regular briefing on the 28th Chinese time, “The United States must take immediate measures to prevent such an accident from reoccurring, and take a responsible attitude for the lives of astronauts and for the safe and stable operation of space facilities.” said.

According to data submitted to the UN this month, the Chinese government said that SpaceX’s ‘Starlink’ satellite approached China’s Tiangong Space Station in orbit twice in July and October and changed its course to avoid a collision. .

Regarding the satellite related to the October incident, China explained, “At that time (Space X satellite) movement plan was unknown and it was difficult to estimate the orbital error. did.

The Chinese government further insisted that it “should take international responsibility for state activities in space, whether conducted by government agencies or non-governmental organizations.”

SpaceX is promoting the Starlink satellite network business, which launches 42,000 small satellites in low orbit to build high-speed Internet services available across the globe. Since 2019, more than 1,900 satellites have been sent into space. Concerns have been raised that this network project may have a negative impact on space overcrowding, safety threats to other spacecraft, and astronomical observations.

“The United States’ insistence on the so-called concept of responsible behavior in space is a typical double standard,” Zhao said.

According to the SCMP, SpaceX signed an agreement with NASA in March, promising to orient Starlink satellites so that they do not interfere with the International Space Station or other NASA spacecraft if they approach too close.

SpaceX said the Starlink satellite is equipped with an autonomous orbital change function to avoid collision so that other spacecraft do not need to move in the event of an encounter, the SCMP reported.

Meanwhile, as Tiangong’s route change has been reported, Chinese netizens are increasingly criticizing Elon Musk. On Chinese social media (SNS), voices criticizing Musk and the company are flooding in, and one hashtag related to it has garnered 87 million views.

One netizen said, “It is contradictory that the amount of money that Chinese people bought for Tesla’s electric cars went into Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite production.”

In addition, there were many opinions expressing anger against Tesla, which was against China’s national interest, such as “let’s boycott Tesla”.

Jonathan McDowell, an official at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said, “Since the launch of Starlink, the probability of a close collision has increased.”

(Washington Seoul = News 1)

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