Elon Musk

Elon Musk has angered the Chinese

Chinese social media users blast Elon Musk

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Elon Musk was born in 1971 in South Africa. Elon Musk became a millionaire at the age of 28 by selling the small startup Zip2 to Compaq. Elon Musk started X.com in 1999, and in 2002 it was Space X; Elon Musk also became CEO of Tesla Motors in 2003. In 2012, He sent the first commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Criticism comes after Beijing’s UN mission says SpaceX Starlink satellites nearly hit space station

Chinese social media users have attacked Elon Musk after satellites of SpaceX, his private rocket company, forced the country’s space station to manoeuvre out of the way to avoid collisions twice this year.

The country’s mission to the UN complained this month that the Chinese space station had to take “preventive collision avoidance control” measures in October and July to “ensure the safety and lives of in-orbit astronauts”.

China said the two satellites from SpaceX’s Starlink internet network were moving dangerously and alleged that one had an unpredictable “manoeuvre strategy”. Beijing did not say how close the spacecraft had come to a collision.

The latest criticism came months after a public relations crisis for Tesla in China, a crucial market for Musk’s electric vehicle company, with sales in the country making up a fifth of the carmaker’s global total last year.

Car owners alleged braking issues with Tesla models, spurring one customer to climb on top of a vehicle wearing a T-shirt with the words “brake malfunction” at the Shanghai Auto Show in April in front of attendees and media.

Some Chinese military compounds in Beijing banned Tesla owners from parking their vehicles inside the gated areas where personnel live, alleging that the cars’ cameras posed a security risk. Musk denied the devices could be used for spying.

Musk’s Starlink has almost 1,900 satellites in orbit, with plans for as many as 12,000 to beam broadband down to earth.

“Tesla and SpaceX have the same problem, they can’t brake,” quipped one user on social media platform Weibo.

Another Chinese user called Starlink “the world’s biggest pile of space junk”. European industry experts have warned that the expanding Starlink project exacerbates the growing problem of space debris, with more than 100,000 commercial spacecraft projected to be in orbit by 2029.

Josef Aschbacher, director-general of the European Space Agency, told the Financial Times this month that the continent’s inaction has meant the entrepreneur was “making the rules” himself for the space economy.

Hu Xijin wrote on Twitter: “Could Mr Musk please explain why satellites launched by his Starlink program had two close encounters with China’s space station. They were not there to sell Tesla to Chinese taikonauts, were they?”

Other Chinese citizens called for Musk to be kicked out of China.

Starlink did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Elon Musk's SpaceX satellites catch heat in China over close calls with space station


Elon Musk

The tech billionaire's SpaceX satellites are catching heat in the country after Beijing complained that two satellites launched by the American aerospace manufacturer endangered Chinese astronauts.

In a report sent earlier this month to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, China claimed that two SpaceX satellites flew too close to the country's space station this year, forcing the station to make evasive maneuvers to avoid collision.

The two encounters "constituted dangers to the life or health of astronauts aboard the China Space Station," according to the report, which said the incidents happened in July and October.

China filed its complaint to the UN early this month. But the episodes didn't gain widespread attention in the country until this week.

Chinese State media scrutinized the incidents, which involved satellites that are part of SpaceX's Starlink constellation — a project that promises to beam high-speed internet across the entire planet. The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, cited an expert Monday who speculated that SpaceX may have been "trying to test China's capability and response awareness in space."

The topic also attracted some 90 million views on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media service in China. Users criticized the "US Starlink satellites." One person decried the network as a "rogue project" and a "kind of monopoly in the space race." Another accused the United States of "provoking trouble."

Asked about the incident on Tuesday, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the United States to "take immediate measures to prevent such incidents from happening again."

"It is a typical double standard for the US to proclaim the concept of 'responsible conduct in outer space' while ignoring its obligations under international treaties on outer space and posing a grave threat to the lives and safety of astronauts," Zhao Lijian told reporters.

SpaceX did not respond to a request from CNN Business for comment about the document that China filed with the UN, nor to questions about whether the company was able to communicate with Chinese authorities during the incidents.

The UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs did not immediately respond to a request from CNN Business for comment. In its report, China asked UN Secretary-General António Guterres to remind countries of the organization's treaty governing outer space activity.

The US military's Vandenberg Space Force Base, which monitors space traffic and attempts to track potential collisions, did not respond to a request for comment about the UNOOSA report.



Financial Times


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