Elon Musk has denied claims that his Starlink internet satellite project takes up too much space in space.
Musk told the Financial Times that “tens of billions” of satellites could be positioned in close-to-Earth orbits.
Josef Aschbacher, president of the European Space Agency (ESA), warned earlier this month that thousands of satellites launched by Starlink could leave little room in space for others.
China also claimed that Starlink satellites operated by Musk’s SpaceX company had come close to “almost colliding” with China’s space station twice this year.
“Space is tremendously large,” Musk said in an interview. The satellites are very small.” Musk denied claims that Starlink satellites were blocking other rival satellites, saying there was enough space for satellites in Earth’s orbit.
“There is no situation where we are blocking others. We have not blocked anyone, and we do not intend to block anyone,” Musk said.
“A few thousand satellites is nothing. It’s kind of like, “Hey, look, there’s a couple thousand cars in the world.” It’s nothing.”
Some other experts argue that, in addition to ESA President Aschbacher’s remarks, there should be more gaps between spacecraft to prevent collisions than Musk mentioned.
Many scientists have also previously expressed concern about the risks of collisions in space. Experts have urged governments to share information about around 30,000 satellites and other space debris orbiting Earth.
Beijing’s government has claimed that the country’s satellites have become dangerously close to Starlink satellites twice this year. According to a document submitted by China to the UN Space Agency, the incidents occurred on July 1 and October 21.
However, these Reports have not yet been confirmed by independent sources. Musk was criticized on social media in China.
In addition to Musk, Starlink and the United States have also been heavily criticized on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.
Comments on social media in China described the Starlink satellites as a “pile of garbage in space.” Musk was quoted as saying it was “a new weapon created by the U.S. government and military.”
SpaceX has already launched about 1,900 satellites as part of its Starlink network. Thousands of satellites are waiting in line to be launched.
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has also postponed a spacewalk from the International Space Station due to concerns about space debris.