Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Elon Musk says SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service is active in Ukraine with more terminals on the way


An artist's illustration of how SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet constellation beams broadband access from orbit. (Image credit: Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his space company's Starlink satellite internet service is available in Ukraine and more terminals to use it are on the way. 

Musk made the statement on Twitter Saturday (Feb. 26) after being asked by a Ukrainian government official if SpaceX could provide more Starlink services to the country after Russian troops invaded Ukraine last week. Internet services in Ukraine has seen "significant disruptions" in the capital city of Kyiv and across much of the country due to Russian military operations and the ensuing fighting, the monitoring group Netblocks reported on Thursday (Feb. 24). 

"@ElonMusk, 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,” Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who is also the country's minister of digital transformation, asked Musk on Twitter Saturday

"Starlink service is now active in Ukraine," Musk replied. "More terminals en route."

SpaceX's Starlink service offers high-speed broadband access via a massive constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit and is designed to ultimately provide coverage anywhere on Earth, with a focus on remote areas or underserved regions. Starlink users access the space-based internet service using a satellite dish placed on or near the location where service is needed.

Musk and SpaceX recently sent 50 Starlink terminals to the island nation of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean to provide free internet access to help reconnect remote villages there after a massive volcano eruption and tsunami in January, according to Reuters. The Starlink terminals will help restore communications with some of the hardest hit regions from the natural disaster.

Since 2019, SpaceX has launched over 2,000 of the satellites for the constellation, which is expected to reach up to 14,000 in its initial form. The company's most recent launch occurred on Friday (Feb. 25), when SpaceX lofted 50 new Starlink satellites into orbit from a pad at California's Vandenberg Space Force Base.

SpaceX's next Starlink mission is expected to lift off later this week on Thursday (March 3) from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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