Could tensions escalate?
Top Chinese officials are now calling out SpaceX Founder Elon Musk and even the United States after two close encounters where China claims that Musk’s satellites broke outer space treaty laws when his satellites entered low-Earth orbit.
Simply put, China is angry with both the United States and Musk after his satellites almost crashed into the Chinese space station.
According to The Guardian, China is demanding that the United States respect international order in space and take steps now to prevent any further close calls in the future.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated, “The U.S. should respect international order in space based on international law, take prompt measures to prevent such incidents from recurring, and act responsibly to safeguard the safety of in-orbit astronauts and the safe and steady operation of space facilities.”
The incidents happened in July and October and forced the Chinese-built Tiangong space station to maneuver itself out of the path of Musk’s satellites to avoid catastrophe.
The satellites owned by musk aim to provide high speed internet to vast parts of the earth where there is little to no internet.
“The U.S. claims to be a strong advocate for the concept of ‘responsible behavior in outer space,’ but it disregarded its treaty obligations and posed a grave threat to the safety of astronauts,” Zhao further stated. “This is typical double standard.”
China further berated the United States and said that they were putting the lives of several astronauts at risk for being so irresponsible.
Currently, Musk has 1,600 satellites actively in orbit and has permission from the United States to have a total of 12,000 satellites in orbit if he wants.