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Earth’s orbit too crowded for China and Elon Musk

Earth's orbit is getting too crowded for China and Elon Musk
Earth's orbit is getting too crowded for China and Elon Musk
Written by Harry Johnson

China insists Washington was directly responsible for SpaceX’s behavior, pointing out that state actors “bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space conducted by their private companies.”

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The government of China has demanded US officials in Washington take “prompt measures” and act to prevent potential ‘disastrous’ collisions between China Space Station (CSS) and US SpaceX Starlink satellites.

Chinese demands came after Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites allegedly ‘nearly crashed’ into Beijing’s new space station, as Beijing claims, accusing Washington of recklessness and hypocrisy.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian confirmed that his country had lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations. He called on the US to take swift action to avoid similar accidents in the future.

“The US claims to be a strong advocate of the concept of ‘responsible behavior in outer space,’ but it disregarded its treaty obligations and posed a grave threat to the safety of [Chinese] astronauts. This is a typical double standard,” Zhao said, referring to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which forms the backbone of international law in space.

According to Chinese official, Washington should pursue “prompt measures to prevent such incidents from recurring,” and to “act responsibly to safeguard in-orbit astronauts and the safe and steady operation of space facilities.”

Zhao insisted Washington was directly responsible for SpaceX’s behavior, pointing out that state actors “bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space conducted by their private companies.”

Beijing first announced its complaint to the UN earlier this week, alleging that two of approximately 1,700 Starlink satellites put into orbit by Musk’s aerospace firm had nearly struck the CSS in 2021 on two occasions, forcing the station’s crew to perform an “evasive maneuver” both times.

The Chinese UN delegation said the Starlink satellites “could constitute a danger to the life or health of astronauts” if they are not kept in check.

While SpaceX devices are outfitted with automated collision avoidance technology and other spacecraft need not move out of their path, China is demanding better assurances from SpaceX and its ‘partners in the US government.’

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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for almost 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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