Featured Image: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky video calls SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
Russian soldiers invaded the country of Ukraine on February 24th, it has been two weeks since the war started and there are already hundreds of civilian casualties and severe damage to vital infrastructures like hospitals, bridges, and telecommunication towers. The unprovoked attack on unarmed people of Ukraine by armed Russians has caused global leaders to impose strong sanctions on Russia in an effort to convince Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to order his army to retreat. There have been reports of Russia intentionally destroying vital communication infrastructures and conducting cyberattacks on available internet services to inhibit people's ability to communicate with the rest of the world. Ukrainian leaders requested SpaceX to provide Starlink Internet to have a reliable communication system to aid with civilian protection operations.
#stopRussia #RussianWarCrimes russian criminal military that encircled Mariupol and bombed it for days, today deliberately hit children/maternity hospital. Despicable cowards who target women and kids. We will never forget or forgive this! pic.twitter.com/YP2lntJ2Ax— Oksana Markarova (@OMarkarova) March 9, 2022
On Wednesday, March 9, the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov shared that SpaceX delivered a second truck loaded with Starlink user terminals. "Received the second shipment of Starlink stations! Elon Musk keeps his word! Thank you for supporting Ukraine and peace in the entire world!" said Fedorov. "You’re welcome. We have also sent power adapters for car cigarette lighters, solar/battery packs and generators for places where electricity is not available," said Musk in response. Starlink can now be used inside a car powered by a cigarette lighter thanks to a software update that allows the dish antenna to run on low power. SpaceX also enabled data roaming across Ukraine to allow people to take the dish terminal wherever they go across the country. This feature is useful for emergency response teams that are trying to rescue civilians, as well as soldiers who are actively coordinating to defend their homeland.
You’re welcome. We have also sent power adapters for car cigarette lighters, solar/battery packs and generators for places where electricity is not available.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2022
The delivery comes after the founder of SpaceX had a video call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on March 5th. "Talked to Elon Musk. I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds," he said, "Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities. Discussed possible space projects 🚀. But I’ll talk about this after the war." Zelensky also shared a short video clip via Instagram of his video call with Musk, linked below. “If you have time after the war, you are very welcome. I invite you,” he said. “Sounds good... I look forward to visiting," Musk replied. SpaceX is now prioritizing cyber defense to protect the Starlink network from Russian cyberattacks. "Some Starlink terminals near conflict areas were being jammed for several hours at a time. Our latest software update bypasses the jamming," Musk shared on March 4th.
Talked to @elonmusk. I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds. Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities. Discussed possible space projects 🚀. But I’ll talk about this after the war.— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 5, 2022
–“Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution,” said Musk. "Turn on Starlink only when needed and place antenna away as far away from people as possible. Place light camouflage over antenna to avoid visual detection,” he advised after the first truck loaded with Starlink Kits arrived on March 3rd. SpaceX currently operates around 2,000 internet-beaming satellites in Low Earth Orbit that beam internet data to customers living across 29 countries. This year, SpaceX also donated Starlink user terminals to the Kingdom of Tonga after the Islands nation's internet infrastructure was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. SpaceX’s Starlink service has proven to be useful when disaster strikes because the service is very easy to set up without a professional technician, simply plug-in to an electricity source and point the antenna to the sky.
SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Starlink Mission –‘Time to let the American broomstick fly & hear the sounds of freedom!’— Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo 💙🦊🇺🇦 (@JaneidyEve) March 9, 2022
Providing Starlink to Ukraine is important so the world continues to hear the voices of the people who are fighting for freedom🇺🇦 @elonmuskhttps://t.co/owLI01abbg
Author's note: Let’s hope/pray that the Russian-Ukriane conflict gets resolved with a peaceful outcome for the benefit of all of humanity.
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About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.