The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to wage on. Ukraine has a wide variety of needs during this time and one of those is the ability to retain access to secure forms of communication. Several Ukrainian public officials have turned to social media for help, including the aid of SpaceX
CEO Elon Musk. Musk promised to send Starlink
terminals to Ukraine and has fulfilled his pledge. It was recently confirmed that Starlink terminals have been delivered to Ukraine and more are on their way.
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister, reached out to Musk
via social media on February 26th. He asked for SpaceX to “provide Ukraine with Starlink stations.” Musk tweeted back later that day that Starlink service was now active in the Ukraine. He further remarked that more terminals would arrive soon.
Starlink — here. Thanks, @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/dZbaYqWYCf
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 28, 2022
We now have official confirmation that Musk
made good on his promise to Ukraine. Fedorov tweeted a photo of a truck full of Starlink terminals yesterday evening. Fedorov kept his thanks short and remarked, “Starlink-- here. Thanks Elon Musk.” Musk responded “You are most welcome.” Several Ukrainian media groups and individuals have also verified that Starlink is working. Volodymyr Usov, former chairman of the Ukrainian State Space Agency and co-founder of Kyiv-based Kurs Orbital, noted that the disruption in their communications has not so far been severe. However, he stated, “Thanks to Elon for his support and good outreach. Starlink can prove to be useful, especially outside big cities.” It never hurts to be prepared.
SpaceX understandably did not divulge how it managed to get the terminals into Ukraine. Musk commented, “I wish I could say more. But, yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Strange that SpaceX can do this.” SpaceX has not provided further comment.
Starlink’s purpose is to provide “high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe.” It particularly focuses on rural, isolated areas. SpaceX most recently supplied free Starlink terminals to communities in Tonga, which have lately been impacted by a volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami. The deployment of Starlink terminals is especially important as Russia continues to attempt to cut off Ukrainian access to the Internet.
Image courtesy of SpaceX