China accused Ilon Mask of endangering his space station

China accused Ilon Mask of endangering his space station

The Chinese authorities had recently informed the United Nations that their Tiangun space station had almost encountered Starlink satellites from SpaceX on two occasions. That news had outraged Chinese citizens who had called on social media to boycott Tesla ' s car brand.

Ilon Mask has not stopped making enemies, and after fighting American senators and other billionaires, he seems to have ended the year bringing the anger of the Chinese authorities and their citizens.

In early December 2021, China filed a complaint against Starlink with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna. China's Tiangun Space Station nearly encountered SpaceX satellites twice."

In April 2021, China brought into low Earth orbit the first basic module of its Tianhae space station, Tiangun, which weighs 22 tons, is 16.6 metres in length and 4.2 metres in diameter. It is currently under construction and is in almost circular orbit at an altitude of about 390 kilometres. In two cases reported, Tianha had a crew of three astronauts: from the Shenzhou-12 mission in July and from the current Shenzhou-13 mission in October.

Starlink satellites, which usually rotate about 550 kilometres above the Earth's surface, have lowered their altitude as part of deorbiting manoeuvres. These are planned processes for old satellites that are out of service.

A satellite tracking specialist, Jonathan McDowell, confirmed China's described collision risks and collision avoidance manoeuvres for the Tianhe module, which emphasized "the danger to the life or health of astronauts".

As part of Starlink, SpaceX plans to launch some 1,200 satellites to provide high-speed Internet coverage around the world. To date, the United States company has launched more than 1,900 satellites, of which nearly 1,800 are still in orbit.

China calls for greater compliance with the United Nations Outer Space Treaty, referring to its article V: "".

It should be noted that the International Space Station has also had to manoeuvre repeatedly because of the testing of Chinese anti-satellite missiles, but China ' s latest complaint is yet another proof that there is simply too much debris in Earth orbit.

In a broader sense, Beijing on Tuesday accused the US of "non-compliance with its international obligations" in space, but China is the most important market for Ilon Mask because Tesla sells about a quarter of its product in that country and has a factory in Shanghai. A billionaire has yet to respond to a request to comment on the incident.