According to the France24 News, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is facing a backlash from Chinese web users on Tuesday after Beijing said its space station was forced to take evasive action to avoid hitting two of the satellites launched by his Star link Internet Services project.
China’s Tiangong space station was forced to take preventive collision avoidance control during two close encounters with SpaceX’s Star link satellites in July and October, according to a document submitted to the UN’s space agency by Beijing this month.
On both occasions, the satellites moved into orbits that prompted space station operators to change course, the document said. “The maneuver strategy was unknown and orbital errors were hard to be assessed”, Beijing said of the satellite involved in the October incident, adding that it took action to ensure the safety and lives of in-orbit astronauts.
Chinese social media users blasted Musk and his companies over the incident, with one hashtag racking up 87 million views by Tuesday morning.
California-based SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Although Musk is widely admired in China, the reputation of Tesla, which sells tens of thousands of vehicles in the country each month, has faltered this year following a spate of crashes, scandals, and data storage concerns. But Tesla is still hugely popular and sells around one out of every four of its cars in the country, as well as building a rare wholly-owned factory in Shanghai.