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Billionaire Elon Musk has come under fire in China after the country recently complained that its emerging space station, which is still under construction, had two “close encounters” with satellites launched by SpaceX’s Starlink program earlier this year became.

Important facts

According to a document China submitted to the United Nations Space Affairs Bureau earlier this month, the Chinese space station was twice forced to take evasive measures to avoid colliding with satellites launched by Musk’s rocket company SpaceX.

Although the allegations have not been independently verified and SpaceX has not yet responded, China claims its space station was required to implement “pre-emptive collision avoidance control” on both July 1 and October 21 when faced with incoming Starlink satellites.

According to the document, China informed the UN Secretary-General that the close encounters with Starlink satellites “presented threats to the life or health of astronauts aboard the China space station.”

The news was quickly followed by a violent backlash against Musk on Chinese social media site Weibo, with a handful of users criticizing the billionaire’s space ambitions, Reuters first reported on Monday.

China began construction of its space station in April 2021 with the successful launch of its Tianhe core module and expects construction to be completed by the end of 2022.