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China protests Elon Musk's satellites

The gossip dictates that the surfer is a community not very accommodating to those Sundays who jump into the water, fearing that they will break into the path of expert wave riders. Now, who says tables on the beach says … rockets in Space, where apparently something similar happens. The rookie in this case is Elon Musk , the richest man in the world, whose paths have irritated China.

The Asian giant has filed a protest with the United Nations, after the satellites of SpaceX , the program developed by Musk, got too close to its space station, forcing it to carry out a emergency movement. “For security reasons, (…) it implemented a preventive control to avoid the collision,” says an official document sent on December 10 to the Office for Outer Space Affairs -UNOOSA, for its acronym in English -.

This station, baptized as ' Tiangong ', contains a manned mission, so this episode “posed a risk to the life and health of the astronauts,” the text denounces. This would have happened up to two times.

The first took place on July 1. The 'Tiangong' was in the circular trajectory fixed since its launch, in April this year, at 390 kilometers of altitude and 41.5 degrees of orbital inclination. Between May and June, the Starlink-1095 satellite descended from its original position, 555 kilometers high, to stabilize at 382 kilometers. Faced with the risk of a collision, the Chinese space station ended up resorting to an evasion maneuver.

The second, on October 21. On this occasion, the Starlink-2305 “constantly maneuvered with an unknown strategy in the face of which it was difficult to estimate orbital errors,” says the statement from the Chinese Government. Again, the 'Tiangong' was forced to change its position. While the first satellite of the American company continued to fall until finally entering the atmosphere and burning, the second managed to regain its initial height.

Galactic jam

SpaceX, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, has launched more than 1,900 satellites since 2019, a number it plans to raise to 42,000. This has paved the way for other organizations, such as Amazon, which have begun to develop plans to place their own devices in orbit; This effort has aroused the concern of academics, governments and international institutions in the face of growing space congestion and its consequences in terms of security.

In March of this year, SpaceX signed an agreement with NASA by which it promised to keep its Starlinks at a minimum distance of 5 kilometers from the International Space Station and other North American agency spacecraft. The magnate also maintains a cordial relationship with the Chinese government, to whom he has repeatedly referred to in glowing terms. In August 2019, Tesla completed the construction of its Gigafactory 3 on land in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, the first foreign-owned auto factory in the Asian giant.

The statement from the Chinese authorities concludes with an elbow to the United States. “Given the preceding facts, China wishes (…) to underline Article 4” of the Outer Space Treaty, it says. This point establishes that “the countries participating in the Treaty will assume responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, whether these activities are carried out by governmental or non-governmental organizations.” As in surfing, it doesn't matter who owns the rocket or the board: what matters is that they are in the wrong place.

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