“The risks of Starlink are being gradually exposed, the whole human race will pay for their business activities.”
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk just can’t stop making enemies.
After beefing with US senators, cabinet members, and fellow billionaires, it looks like he’s capping off the year by pissing off *checks notes* the entire nation of China — an impressive feat, even for him.
China recently informed the United Nations that its crewed space station Tianhe performed two evasive maneuvers this past year in order to avoid colliding with SpaceX Starlink satellites. The close calls occurred on July 1 and October 21.
Beijing specifically pointed to Article V of the UN’s Outer Space Treaty, which states that space-faring nations should inform each other of any “phenomena they discover in outer space” that could harm the life and safety of astronauts.
Translation: Your damn satellites nearly killed our astronauts, Elon.
The issue stems from two wayward Starlink satellites that had lowered their altitudes as part of deorbiting measures, SpaceNews reports. These are planned processes put in place for older satellites that are being decommissioned (i.e. sent hurtling back to Earth in a flaming wreck).
It should be noted that the International Space Station has had to undergo evasive maneuvers numerous times due to Chinese anti-satellite missile tests. However, the latest complaint from China is just more evidence that there’s simply too much trash in orbit around Earth.
In response to the near collisions, Chinese citizens have taken to social media to let their anger be known on Weibo, the country’s version of Twitter.
“The risks of Starlink are being gradually exposed, the whole human race will pay for their business activities,” one user said on the platform in a post seen by Reuters.
Others added that SpaceX’s satellites were “just a pile of junk,” and even “American space warfare weapons,” according to the news organization.
The fury is an about face from an otherwise warm relationship Musk has had with Chinese citizens in the past. As it turns out, though, a solid way to destroy the good will you’ve developed with an entire country is by threatening the lives of its astronauts.
READ MORE: Chinese citizens slam Musk online after space station near-misses [Reuters]
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