Elon Musk has confirmed that SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service is now available in Ukraine, and more terminals are being sent over. The CEO’s update came as a response to a request from a Ukrainian government official, who asked Musk if he could help the country’s citizens gain internet access amidst the ongoing attacks from Russia.
Ukraine’s vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation Mykhailo Fedorov directly addressed Elon Musk in his request: “While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand,” Fedorov wrote.
It took Musk about 10 hours to respond, but he eventually noted on Twitter that Starlink’s satellite internet service is already active in Ukraine. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk responded.
The Ukrainian official’s request to the SpaceX CEO on Twitter was not surprising, considering that internet connectivity in the country has been adversely affected by the ongoing Russian invasion. This is particularly true in the southern and eastern parts of the country, where the battle between Ukrainian and Russian forces had been most intense. This was according to internet monitor service Netblocks on Thursday.
Considering that Starlink is designed to provide high-speed and stable internet connectivity to remote areas across the globe, the satellite internet system would likely be particularly useful for Ukrainian citizens currently being affected by the war. SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites since 2019, which is impressive but still just a fraction of the planned constellation’s size, which is estimated to reach up to ~14,000 satellites.
SpaceX’s Starlink launches have been consistent as of late, with the most recent one being this past Friday when Musk’s private space agency launched 50 new satellites to orbit. The next Starlink mission is expected to launch this coming week, on March 3, 2022.
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