Even though the space race seems to be dominated by both Western billionaires and government-funded agencies such as NASA, the East is also on the verge.
The recent showdown is with Chinese citizens lashing out against SpaceX founder, Elon Musk’s space ambition because China complained that its space station was forced to take evasive action in order to avoid collision with satellites launched by Starlink.
FYI, Starlink Internet Services is an extension of SpaceX to provide faster internet access to rural areas.
According to a Reuters report on Monday, there were two close encounters with the Chinese space stations this year alone – July 1st and Oct. 21st according to a document submitted by China earlier this month to the United Nation’s space agency.
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“For safety reasons, the China Space Station implemented preventive collision avoidance control,” China said in a document published on the website of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
Even though the complaint hasn’t been independently verified yet, SpaceX hasn’t made any comment about the issue.
However, China residents and citizens weren’t having it as many took to Weibo to voice their opinion on the issue.
A user said Starlink’s satellites were “just a pile of space junk”, while another described them as “American space warfare weapons.”
With nearly 30,000 satellites and other debris believed to be orbiting the planet, scientists have urged governments to share data to reduce the risk of catastrophic space collisions.
Of those thousands of satellites in space, SpaceX deployed about 1,900 of them to serve its Starlink broadband network while also planning to deploy even more in the near future.
“The risks of Starlink are being gradually exposed, the whole human race will pay for their business activities,” a user posting under the name Chen Haiying said on Weibo.
However, an increase in space debris once led NASA to call off a spacewalk back in November due to risks posed by space debris.
Musk tweeted in response that some Starlink satellite orbits had been adjusted to reduce the possibility of collisions.
And as for China which commenced the development of its own space station back in April is expected to finish the project by the end of the year 2022 after four crewed missions.
Elon Musk’s other venture, Tesla is still one of the biggest rivals to other Chinese electric car makers despite the company facing growing scrutiny from Chinese regulators.