China urges space players to watch out for space debris, protect Chinese taikonauts' safety
Published: Oct 15, 2021 12:35 AM
Photo: CAST

Photo: CAST

China urged relevant foreign space agencies and organizations to pay attention to the data on the Chinese spacecraft that are kept updated on the website of the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) to avoid possible space collisions and ensure the safety of Chinese taikonauts, a spokesperson of the CMSA said on Thursday during a press briefing prior to Shenzhou-13's launch.

"China welcomes astronauts from other countries to come onboard China's space station and conduct flight cooperation. We believe we could see more of such cooperation after the space station enters the full operational and utilization phase," Lin Xiqiang, CMSA spokesperson announced. 

Lin added that manned space exploration is the common cause of mankind requiring full cooperation and the China Space Station is an integral part of building a community of shared future.

"Considering the increasing risks of space collision, the official website of China's manned space project has been updating China's space station's orbit parameters and we hope relevant agencies and organizations of other countries will pay attention to these data and avoid collisions when their spacecraft makes orbital maneuvers, as well as jointly safeguard order in space and the safety of astronauts," Lin noted at the conference.

Lin referred to the taikonauts as envoys representing all mankind in outer space. 

Song Zhongping, a military expert and space observer, told the Global Times on Thursday that such remarks are pointing at the US, as it is constantly promoting the militarization of outer space, which increasingly puts the orbiting spacecraft from other countries as well as space assets at stake. 

The US has been hyping the military use of robotic arms on the China Space Station baselessly, while the actual menace to all are US space weapons such as the X-37B. 

It is only legit for China's authorities to reiterate the international principle of peaceful use of space before the Shenzhou-13 mission, and urge relevant countries to abide by the international consensus, Song told the Global Times on Thursday.

China's manned missions have not been hit by space debris previously. However, the longer the mission, the greater the risks of hitting debris while in orbit, observers noted. 

In June this year, the International Space Station was hit by fast-moving space junk but did not cause too much damage, according to media reports. Space junk hurtling towards the station smashed into one of its robotic arms leaving a hole.

China's space authorities announced on Thursday that the launch window of the Shenzhou-13 flight mission targets at 0:23 am on Saturday morning local time, which would conclude this year's space construction mission series and mark the final of the six launches for the verification period of the space station's technology.