Chinese citizens slammed Elon Musk’s company SpaceX for its ”close encounter” with the country’s space station.
They took to Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, and called the company “just a pile of space junk” while accusing America of “space warfare weapons.”
A user called Chen Haiying said on Weibo “The risks of Starlink are being gradually exposed, the whole human race will pay for their business activities.”
Some satellites under the Starlink programme of SpaceX nearly collided with China’s space station on July 1 and October 21.
The move reignites concerns about the growing space arms race, encompassing everything from the development of satellites capable of shunting others out of orbit to laser weapons.
According to a document submitted by China to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, “For safety reasons, the China Space Station implemented preventive collision avoidance control.”
There are currently more than 4,500 satellites whizzing around Earth, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, with companies like SpaceX planning to launch up to tens of thousands more, as the private space industry experiences rapid growth.
With the launch of Tianhe, China had the construction of the space station in April and it is expected to be completed by 2022.
Citing risks posed by space debris, US space agency NASA was forced to abruptly call off a spacewalk at the end of November.
(With inputs from agencies)