Over 5,000 SpaceX Starlink Terminals Now Active in Ukraine: Report
According to unnamed sources familiar with Starlink’s operations in Ukraine, there are now more than 5,000 terminals of SpaceX’s satellite broadband service active in the country — reports The Washington Post.
Starlink is a high-speed broadband service from SpaceX that connects to a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) and is designed to provide affordable internet at viable speeds anywhere and everywhere across the globe. As of February, Starlink has surpassed 250,000 user terminals across the globe.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk enabled Starlink service in Ukraine shortly after Russia began its invasion of the country late last month.
The Washington Post reached out to Musk for comment on SpaceX’s efforts in Ukraine, to which he replied by telling the publication to give his regards “to your puppet master Besos😘😘,” referring to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who owns The Post. The publication says Musk did not respond to a follow-up request on Starlink’s operations in Ukraine.
Internet service in Ukraine deteriorated significantly on the first day of the invasion, and Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transporformation, promptly reached out to Musk on Twitter requesting Starlink access amid fears of Russian forces taking down Ukraine’s access to the internet.
While it first appeared that Musk rushed bringing Starlink to Ukraine at Fedorov’s behest, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said earlier this month that the move was more than a month in the making.
Terrestrial internet service in Ukraine still hasn’t recovered entirely. “Every day there are outages, but generally service comes back,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis for Kentik, which monitors global data flows.
Starlink has proven instrumental in maintaining connectivity in Ukraine and making sure that administrative infrastructure and humanitarian efforts in the country remain online.
SpaceX is sending regular shipments of Starlink user terminals to the country to help maintain communications and infrastructure, with the latest batch arriving on Friday.
Recently shared Starlink speed tests from Ukraine detailed download speeds of over 200 Mbps. That’s enough for the government and citizens to stay online, coordinate emergency efforts, and maintain communications with the world.
Today’s tests of the #Starlink in #Kyiv pic.twitter.com/QQpA9kLj6g
— Oleg Kutkov 🇺🇦 (@olegkutkov) March 5, 2022
Musk has even diverted resources from SpaceX and his electric vehicle (EV) business, Tesla, to help package Starlink terminals for shipping and overcome efforts to jam signals to Starlink terminals in Ukraine.