China slams US after space station’s ‘close encounters’ with Elon Musk’s satellites

Beijing on Tuesday accused the United States of irresponsible and unsafe conduct in space over two “close encounters” between the Chinese space station and satellites operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Tiangong, China’s new space station, had to manoeuvre to avoid colliding with one Starlink satellite in July and with another in October, according to a note submitted by Beijing to the United Nations space agency this month.

A model of China’s Tiangong space station is seen at the Apsara Conference, a cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) conference, in Hangzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on October 19, 2021. Photo: Stringer/AFP.

The note said the incidents “constituted dangers to the life or health of astronauts aboard the China Space Station”.

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