China- Elon Musk Space Tussle

Recently, Chinese citizens lashed out against Elon Musk’s space programme, after China complained that its space station had to take evasive action in order to avoid collision with satellites launched by Musk’s Starlink programme.

Highlights

  • As per China, satellites from Starlink Internet Services had two close encounters with Chinese Space Station on July 1 and October 21.
  • To prevent collision and for safety reasons, Space Station of China implemented preventive collision avoidance control.

Increasing risk of space collisions

About 30,000 satellites and other debris are believed to be orbiting the planet. So, scientists have urged governments to share data for reducing the risk of space collisions. SpaceX has deployed around 1,900 satellites for serving its Starlink broadband network and has planned more such launched.

About Starlink

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation. It is operated by SpaceX. The satellite provides Internet access, covering most of the Earth. The constellation has grown to around 1900 satellites as of 2021. It will eventually comprise of more of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). As of November 2021, beta service offering is available across 21 countries.

Background

Work on Starlink constellation started in 2014 when SpaceX stealthily filed an ITU application through a Norway telecom regulator under the name STEAM. In January 2015, the communication satellite network SpaceX envisions was announced publicly, with bandwidth of carrying up to 50% of all backhaul communications traffic.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)

SpaceX is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services. It is headquartered in Hawthorne, California. The company was started by Elon Musk in 2002, with the objectives of reducing space transportation costs.

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