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China says its space station had ‘close encounters’ with Elon Musk’s satellites

China says its space station had ‘close encounters’ with Elon Musk’s satellites

China on Tuesday accused the US of ignoring its obligations under outer space treaties after the country’s under-construction space station was forced to avoid collisions with satellites owned by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian confirmed satellites from Starlink Internet Services, a division of Tesla founder Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company, had two “close encounters” with China’s space station this year. The two encounters took place on July 1 and October 21, according to a document China submitted to the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs in early December, Chinese official media reported. Zhao said that China’s under-construction space station, which had three astronauts on board during that period, was “…forced to take evasive actions to avoid collision with the satellites”. Zhao said that the US keeps claiming the so-called concept of responsible conduct in outer space, but it ignores international treaty obligations on outer space and poses a serious threat to the lives of astronauts. “This is a typical double standard,” he said, adding that China urges the US to act responsibly. Citing “The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, Zhao said astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind, and all counties should respect and protect their safety and report any life-threatening situation for astronauts to the secretary-general of the UN and other contracting nations. The Chinese government gave details of the two “encounters” in the document submitted to the UN. The China Manned Space Programme completed five launch missions in 2021, with the successful launching into orbit of the Tianhe core module of the China Space Station, the Tianzhou-II and Tianzhou-III cargo spacecraft and the Shenzhou-XII and Shenzhou-XIII crewed spacecraft, the document said. During this period, Starlink satellites launched by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) of the United States of America have had two close encounters with the China Space Station. For safety reasons, the China Space Station implemented preventive collision avoidance control on July 1and October 21, 2021, respectively,” the document said. This is a modal window. Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window. End of dialog window. This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Following the news of the near-collisions, Musk and his space programme faced a backlash on Chinese social media with netizens calling the satellites a new US weapon in space..

world-news 2021-12-29 hindustantimes