Chinese web users slammed Tesla founder Elon Musk’s space ambitions after China complained that its space station was forced to take evasive action to avoid collision with satellites launched by Musk’s Starlink program.
According to a document submitted by China earlier this month to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the satellites from Starlink Internet Services, a division of Elon Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company, had two “close encounters” with the Chinese space station on July 1 and October 21, reports BBC.
“A close encounter occurred between the Starlink-1095 satellite and the China Space Station on 1 July 2021. For safety reasons, the China Space Station took the initiative to conduct an evasive manoeuvre in the evening of that day to avoid a potential collision between the two spacecraft,” China said in a document published on the website of the UN space agency.
After the complaint was made public, Musk and the US were heavily criticised on China’s microblogging platform Weibo.
One user described Starlink’s satellites as “just a pile of space junk”.
The satellites are “American space warfare weapons” and “Musk is a new ‘weapon’ created by the US government and military”, others said.
Another posted: “The risks of Starlink are being gradually exposed, the whole human race will pay for their business activities.”
SpaceX has already launched almost 1,900 satellites as part of the Starlink network, and it is planning to deploy more soon.
China began constructing the space station in April with the launch of Tianhe, the largest of its three modules and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.