After the near-misses of the space station, Chinese residents lash out at Elon Musk on social media

On Monday, Chinese residents took to social media to express their displeasure with billionaire Tesla creator Elon Musk's space ambitions after China protested that its space station had to take evasive steps to avoid colliding with satellites launched by Musk's Starlink program.

According to a statement provided by China earlier this month to the United Nations' space agency, satellites from Starlink Internet Services, a part of Musk's SpaceX aerospace business, made two "close encounters" with the Chinese space station on July 1 and Oct. 21.

"For safety reasons, the China Space Station implemented preventive collision avoidance control," China said in a document published on the website of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

The complaints have not been verified by a third party. A request for comment from SpaceX was not immediately returned.

One user called Starlink's satellites as "simply a pile of space rubbish" in a post on China's Twitter-like Weibo microblogging network on Monday, while another labeled them as "American space warfare weapons."

Scientists have encouraged nations to exchange data to lessen the possibility of catastrophic space collisions, with roughly 30,000 satellites and other junk thought to be orbiting the Earth.

SpaceX alone has roughly 1,900 satellites in orbit to operate its Starlink internet network, with more on the way.

"The risks of Starlink are being gradually exposed, the whole human race will pay for their business activities," a user posting under the name Chen Haiying said on Weibo.

NASA, the United States' space agency, was forced to cancel a spacewalk at the end of November due to threats posed by space debris. In response, Musk tweeted that the orbits of several Starlink satellites had been altered to lessen the risk of collisions.

With the launch of Tianhe, the biggest of the space station's three modules, China began construction in April. After four crewed trips, the station is projected to be finished by the end of 2022.

Musk has become a well-known personality in China, despite the fact that Tesla's electric-vehicle company has come under increasing scrutiny from regulators, particularly after a client protested bad customer service by climbing on top of a Tesla car at the Shanghai auto show in April.

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