Debris from a Russian space probe that hit the International Space Station also threatened the Chinese space program.
Debris from the Russian satellite destroyed last year by Moscow grazed a Chinese satellite , in an “extremely dangerous” incident, according to Beijing.
The Chinese have an ambitious space program , which includes the launch of observation and positioning satellites -with military or civil objectives- and the sending of probes to the Moon or Mars, as well as manned missions.
According to the Space Debris Center of the China Space Agency (CNSA), quoted by the Global Times newspaper on Tuesday , “debris” from the Russian satellite Kosmos1408 passed “only 14.5 meters” from the Chinese scientific satellite Tsinghua on Tuesday.
The space authorities described the incident as “extremely dangerous”, according to the same source.
The Russian Defense Ministry had admitted in mid-November, after a day of silence, that it had pulverized the Kosmos 1408, an old satellite dating from the Soviet era, with a missile test shot.
The United States denounced what happened, which, in its opinion, generated a “cloud” of potentially dangerous debris for the International Space Station (ISS) , its occupants, and for other spacecraft.
Liu Jing, an expert on space debris, told the Global Times that it is rare for debris and spacecraft to be only 10 meters apart. In his opinion, the probability of a collision was “very high” and in theory it would have been necessary to take measures to avoid it.
This incident comes after the revelation last month of other similar incidents involving two satellites of the US company SpaceX.
Beijing had denounced a “serious threat” to the safety of its astronauts after the ships of the company, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, almost collided with the Chinese space station. (AFP)