Today, December 21, marks 302 days since Russian soldiers aggressively invaded Ukraine. The war has caused severe destruction to critical life-supporting infrastructures, including communications systems. In February, Ukrainian government officials asked SpaceX founder Elon Musk to assist the country by providing a reliable way for emergency responders and military to coordinate operations, SpaceX immediately shipped Starlink hardware to provide high-speed satellite internet service.
Since February 2022, SpaceX has delivered around 22,000 Starlink Kits to Ukraine, which includes a phased array antenna and Wi-Fi router to access the broadband satellite internet wirelessly. According to Musk, SpaceX spent nearly $20 million per month for maintaining satellite services in Ukraine. He said SpaceX had spent about $80 million to enable Starlink across the war-torn country. Starlink teams also worked to prioritize protection against cyberattacks. In October, Musk said that the company could not pay for the service “indefinitely” after SpaceX wrote to the U.S. government requesting help with paying for existing Starlink service subscriptions. The government did not immediately approve the funding. Then Musk decided to continue his support for Ukrainians despite his company losing millions – “[...] even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $ [money], we’ll just keep funding [the] Ukraine govt [government] for free,” wrote Musk on October 15 via Twitter.
SpaceX will deliver 10,000 more Starlink Internet user terminals to Ukraine, says the Minister for Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov. He shared that multiple European Union governments will help the Ukrainian government pay SpaceX for the Starlink hardware and internet subscription. “As of now all financial issues have been resolved,” he told Bloomberg reporters. “SpaceX and Musk quickly react to problems and help us,” said Federov. “Musk assured us he will continue to support Ukraine. When we had a powerful blackout, I messaged him on that day and he momentarily reacted and has already delivered some steps. He understands the situation." He said that the funding that the European Union provided will help Ukraine pay for Starlink until Spring 2023. “We are ready to live without electricity for a month with at least mobile network and text messages being available,” Fedorov said, in reference to the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. “Regarding internet, we have a lot of Starlinks, but the key point is we have got a nod for another shipment that will be used to stabilize connection for critical situations.”
The Starlink service has demonstrated to be very useful for soldiers and civilians. An American documentary filmmaker Spencer Taylor shared a video on Twitter thanking the company for the Starlink system, linked below. "I wanted to give a quick shoutout to SpaceX and Elon Musk, as you can see right over my shoulder that is a Starlink satellite [antenna]. I am here in the front lines in Avdiivka, near Donetsk, and I want to say thank you because I've been able to speak to all the local Ukrainian soldiers here and they say how critical Starlink has been. There is no cell service, everything is destroyed, so the only way that they can communicate with each other, with central command, and even with their families, is through Starlink. Without it this war would be a lot different and a lot more difficult for the Ukrainians. So, from them and from me - experiencing it as an American here on the front lines - Thank you," said Taylor (watch short video clip below).
@elonmusk does not get the credit he deserves for @SpaceX Starlink. As an American🇺🇸 boots on the ground in Ukraine, I’ve gotten to experience first hand the communication advantages this provides Ukraine troops. This is in a confidential location in Avdiivka frontline 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/sfa1WwlWmV— Spencer Taylor (@SpencerVYBES) December 17, 2022
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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.