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Chinese Space Station Avoids Starlink Satellites Twice

China has pointed the finger at the United States after revealing two rescue tactics for its manned space station under construction. SpaceX’s Star Link satellites are involved.

At the end of April, China placed the central Tianhe module of its new Tiangong space station under construction, which will be operational next year, into low earth orbit. It operates in an almost circular orbit at an altitude of about 390 km.

The Tianhe module has already received the visit of two cargo vessels Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3, as well as two manned vessels Shenzhou-12 and Shenzhou-13. Three Chinese astronauts stayed on board from mid-June to mid-September, and three more have been there since mid-October.

In a document sent earlier this month to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), China indicates that for safety reasons, its space station carried out two collision avoidance maneuvers on July 1 and October 21.

In question, SpaceX’s Starlink telecommunications satellites which have changed altitude. The Starlink-1095 satellite maneuvered to an orbit of about 382 km, and the Starlink-2305 satellite approached the Chinese space station.

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has confirmed the collision risks and avoidance maneuvers of the Tianhe module described by China which underline ” a danger to the life or the health of the astronauts. ”

China accuses the USA

China highlights an article in the Outer Space Treaty on State Responsibility for Activities in Outer Space “ of Governmental Agencies or Non-Governmental Entities. ” Chinese diplomacy is more incisive in pointing the finger directly United States.

” The United States talks about the concept of responsible behavior in space, but ignores its obligations under international treaties. It poses a serious threat to the lives and safety of astronauts. ”

Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has yet to react. On social networks in China, a call to boycott Elon Musk’s Tesla brand is gaining momentum. China is a major market for Tesla’s electric cars.


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