The rant from China, which announced that its space station had to carry out avoidance maneuvers of Starlink satellites, could speed up the implementation of regulations to better manage space traffic around Earth.
Last October, a Starlink satellite came dangerously close to the Chinese space station, which had to carry out an evasive maneuver. No question of testing a collision in full space, while three taikonauts were present in the station! This incident is not a first, another of the same kind occurred this summer.
Two incidents involving Starlink
Beijing has protested to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, a Vienna-based organization, to deplore the dangers to the life or health of astronauts aboard its space station. And China to point the finger at the United States, which would ignore its obligations enshrined in international treaties.
Here’s close encounter of 🇺🇸USA‘s Starlink No. 2305 and 🇨🇳 Space Station (CSS). It was reported “Starlink doesn’t publicize all the maneuvers… no one knows where the satellite is going to be and what it is going to do in the next few days.” https://t.co/WGVGMckphu
– CNSA Watcher (@CNSAWatcher)
Beyond the Chinese incident, the issue of regulated management of space traffic is of growing concern to international authorities. The European Commission has thus taken up the subject: the Spaceways project aims to develop a sort of “route guide” for the machines orbiting our planet. A large-scale work subject to opposing pressure from governments, especially American and Chinese, but also from private companies in the sector.
This is of course the case with SpaceX, which operates the Starlink satellite network. In the Financial Times, the businessman believes that the space being ” extremely tall “, There was plenty of room for” tens of billions of satellites “! For him, ” a few thousand satellites, that’s nothing “. A discourse that goes badly with space specialists who, on the contrary, are increasing the calls for caution and regulation.