- BBC News World
China has filed a complaint with the United Nations after its space station was forced to avoid a collision with satellites launched by billionaire Elon Musk’s Starlink project.
This year, the Chinese station had two “close encounters” with satellites from Starlink, an Internet provider operated by SpaceX, also owned by Musk.
The incidents reported by Beijing to the United Nations space agency have not been independently verified.
The incidents occurred on July 1 and October 21, according to documents China submitted to the United Nations.
“For security reasons, the Chinese space station has implemented precautionary measures to avoid collisions,” Beijing said in the complaint.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for comment.
Once the incident was known, Musk, Starlink and the United States received numerous criticisms on the Chinese social network Weibo.
“The dangers of Starlink are gradually being revealed,” one user said. “All of humanity will pay for its economic activities.”
China has also accused the United States of endangering astronauts by ignoring Outer Space Treaty obligations.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China calls on the United States to act responsibly.
Scientists have expressed concern about the risks of collision in space and called on world governments to share information about the 30,000 satellites and other space debris estimated to orbit Earth.
SpaceX has already launched nearly 1,900 satellites as part of its Starlink network to provide low-cost internet and plans to put thousands more into orbit.
Last month, NASA postponed a spacewalk from the International Space Station at the last minute due to the risk of collision with space debris.
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