Source: City A.M

  • The European Space Agency took a jab at SpaceX, suggesting the firm was blocking out rivals in the satellite race.
  • CEO Elon Musk responded, stating that there is room for tens of billions of satellites in Earth’s orbit and his 42,000 would leave plenty of space for competitors.

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Elon Musk has urged that there is room for “tens of billions” of satellites in Earth’s orbit, amid concerns that SpaceX is hoarding space for its own.

The European Space Agency suggested that Musk was blocking out smaller rivals in space.

It is not the first time the billionaire has drawn criticism from the agency, as Musk was earlier this month accused of being able to make “his own rules” regarding the final frontier.

However, Musk told the Financial Times: “A couple of thousand satellites is nothing. It’s like, hey, here’s a couple of thousand of cars on Earth — it’s nothing.”  

With orbital “shells” larger than the Earth’s surface, Musk looks confident that the number of his “very tiny” satellites will cause no issue.

“This is not some situation where we’re effectively blocking others in any way,” he added.

“We’ve not blocked anyone from doing anything, nor do we expect to.”

The tech billionaire has already launched 1,700 Starlink satellites into orbit, which will be used for internet connection. Though Musk plans on having a constellation of 42,000 satellites strong.

It follows China filing an official complaint with the United Nations regarding the US’ space etiquette just days ago, after two near-collisions involving SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Services and the China Space Station on July 1 and October 21 prompted the filing.

China’s foreign minister urged the US to act responsibly after it accused it of ignoring its obligations to outer space treaties and putting astronauts in danger.

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The China Space Station had to undertake an “evasive maneuver” to avoid collision with one of Starlink’s satellites.

“As the satellite was continuously maneuvering, the maneuver strategy was unknown and orbital errors were hard to be assessed, there was thus a collision risk between the Starlink-2305 satellite and the China Space Station,” the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations said. 

China’s state-backed Global Times reported that Elon Musk’s SpaceX could be “trying to test China’s capability and response awareness in space”.