Today, May 2nd, marks 69 days since Russian soldiers invaded the country of Ukraine. Their aggression has affected the lives of millions and caused the destruction of important infrastructures across the country. Civilian casualties and injuries have put emergency response teams on high alert. After Russian soldiers started to destroy communications' infrastructures, Ukrainian authorities feared that it would leave its brave teams without a reliable way to maintain communication in order to coordinate civilian safety operations. The Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov asked SpaceX founder Elon Musk to assist the country by connecting communities to the Starlink broadband constellation soon after Russian soldiers attacked the country on February 24. SpaceX rapidly delivered more than 10,000 Starlink user terminals that actively provide internet service to the war-torn country.
This week, Fedorov announced that SpaceX is actively providing reliable Starlink internet to around 150,000 users daily amid the war with Russia. “Rough data on Starlink's usage: around 150K active users per day. This is crucial support for Ukraine's infrastructure and restoring the destroyed territories. Ukraine will stay connected no matter what,” said Fedorov via Twitter. The Ukraine Ministry of Health says a total of 590 SpaceX Starlink user terminals have been delivered to hospitals and health centers across the country. "Thanks to SpaceX's broadband satellite, our hospitals will always be able to remain connected. This is extremely important in times of war," stated Ukraine’s Health Minister Viktor Liashko.
Rough data on Starlink's usage: around 150K active users per day. This is crucial support for Ukraine's infrastructure and restoring the destroyed territories. Ukraine will stay connected no matter what. pic.twitter.com/XWjyxPQJyX— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) May 2, 2022
Earlier this year, the Starlink App became Ukraine’s most downloaded tool via the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. SpaceX engineers have introduced useful software updates to the Starlink user terminals. They enabled data roaming in Ukraine to allow people to move the user antenna anywhere they go across the country. They also updated the software to enable the Starlink antenna to reduce power consumption to function with the energy from a car cigarette lighter; the feature is useful during power outages in destroyed territories.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service remains unaffected by the war, the user terminals receive data from around 2,200 satellites in Low Earth Orbit that work alongside ground station antennas in neighboring countries. Starlink engineers are working to keep the network safe from Russian cyberattacks. In March, Musk shared that "some Starlink terminals near conflict areas were being jammed for several hours at a time," he said, "Our latest software update bypasses the jamming." With a software update the Starlink team “resisted all hacking and jamming attempts.”
Featured Image Source: The Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov via Twitter.
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.