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China filed a complaint with the UN against Starlink over dangerous rapprochement with the Tiangong CS

China filed a complaint with the UN against Starlink over dangerous rapprochement with the Tiangong CS

Although this sounds strange enough, space is really getting crowded – in this regard, the Chinese authorities even filed a complaint with the UN (Office for Outer Space Affairs) against the American company Starlink, which is owned by Elon Musk. It’s all about the SpaceX launch vehicle, which launches Starlink Internet satellites into space, apparently oblivious to other space objects in Earth orbit. Chinese officials said two episodes in which SpaceX rockets got too close to the Tiangong space station, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

For the first time, a dangerous rapprochement occurred on July 1, 2021 – then, apparently, the Chinese authorities decided to remain silent, without filing a complaint with the UN. However, more recently, on October 21, the situation repeated itself – a launch vehicle with Starlink satellites on board flew too close to the Chinese space station, which, as it turned out, was forced to maneuver both times in order to avoid a collision. This information was confirmed by astrophysicist from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Jonathan McDowell, who observed both events from the space observatory. He said that the danger of a collision was indeed present.

I confirmed the Starlink/Chinese Space Station conjunctions on Jul 1 at 1315 UTC (S-1095) and Oct 21 at 2200 UTC (S-2305), with CSS orbit adjustmets at about 0950 UTC Jul 1 and 0316 UTC Oct 21. The Oct passes shown here: pic.twitter.com/DmbIucpRPF

— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) December 28, 2021

Immediately after the publication of the complaint, Chinese users on the social network Weibo criticized SpaceX and Elon Musk, calling their rockets “American space weapons.” And although the company itself has so far refused to comment on the situation, the Chinese authorities are already demanding decisive action from the UN, recalling that all parties to the Outer Space Treaty are fully responsible for any incidents outside the Earth, even if they are related to private companies. This means that if SpaceX, as an American company, crashes into a Chinese space station, the US government will be held responsible.