According to the European Space Agency(ESA), since the beginning of the space age in 1957, mankind has launched 12,360 satellites into near-earth orbit. Approximately 7,630 of them are still in circles around our planet, but only 4,700 satellites are operational. It goes without saying that these are not extremely accurate figures - the number of satellites in low-earth orbit is increasing almost every week. SpaceX fills the most space around the Earth, which regularly launches satellites to expand the coverage of its Internet provider Starlink. The abundance of such objects creates a great danger - if one of them collides with any space station, astronauts may be injured. The other day, one of the Starlink satellites almost rammed the Chinese station "Tiangong", which is why China accused the United States of not so much SpaceX as "not safe" behavior in space.
USA poses danger in space
Told about a sudden cosmic conflictScience Alert edition. In July and October 2021, the new Tiangong space station had to perform maneuvers to avoid collisions with Starlink satellites, according to a report from the Chinese authorities. This space station was launched into space in April 2021 at an altitude of 340 to 450 km above the Earth's surface. It is not yet fully assembled - the launch of the second and third modules "Wentian" and "Mengtian" is scheduled for 2022. From time to time, there are taikonauts inside the station, which is the main danger. If any of the many US satellites collided with the station, people could die.
The United States ignores its obligations tointernational treaties, posing a serious threat to the life and safety of astronauts, said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The danger of Starlink satellites
The note refers to the risk of collision withStarlink satellites, which were launched by SpaceX to create a satellite Internet network. Formally, Elon Musk is to blame for the risk of a collision, who has already launched more than 2,000 satellites in order to expand the coverage of the network. And ideally, to cover the entire area of the Earth with the Internet, he intends to send 12,000 satellites into near-earth space. However, the Chinese authorities believe that all representatives of the United States are to blame for the incident, because they must control the actions of their private companies.
SpaceX did not comment on the situation in any way. And the spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, during a conversation with reporters, declined to specifically respond to China's accusations:
We called on all countries that havespace programs, be responsible actors and avoid actions that could endanger astronauts, cosmonauts and other people who are in Earth's orbit, ”announced Ned Price.
Meanwhile, scientists confirm that a largethe number of satellites in Earth's orbit does endanger the lives of astronauts. For example, astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell shared with reporters that they have indeed noticed an increase in the number of dangerous situations since SpaceX began deploying its Starlink satellites. He also added that any collision with a high degree of probability will completely destroy the Chinese space station "Tiangong".
See also: How does Starlink satellite Internet equipment look and work?
Criticism towards SpaceX and Tesla
A very difficult situation arises.On the one hand, the Chinese authorities criticize Elon Musk and SpaceX in general. But on the other hand, Chinese users are very fond of the American entrepreneur. Tesla sells tens of thousands of its vehicles in China every month. And this is even though the company's reputation has suffered greatly in 2021 due to a string of fatal accidents, data security problems and other scandals.
Everything goes to the fact that 2022 will stand out for IlonaThe mask is far from the easiest one. In addition, it is impossible to predict what consequences the abundance of satellites in near-earth orbit will actually lead to. Indeed, in 2021, even the International Space Station had to be saved from space debris.
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