The Starlink company aims to create a ‘constellation’ of Internet satellites orbiting planet Earth, which will provide broadband Internet service, global coverage and low latency at a low cost . Initially it was a project of the great American company Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX.
Inventor and billionaire Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, thinking of a potential human colonization of Mars . Among the company’s many achievements is having developed the Dragon and Dragon 2 reusable cargo ships, having carried the second to astronauts to the International Space Station.
In addition, SpaceX has obtained various contracts with different companies and even institutions. For example, it has entered into commercial cargo agreements with NASA , but also to transport human crews . It has also closed deals with the United States Department of Defense , as well as with the United States Air Force. Also noteworthy is the commercial contract with the company Space Adventures , to take up to four citizens on a private flight for a maximum of four days in low Earth orbit.
Starlink in Ukraine
The tycoon, founder of the Starlink system, decided to send thousands of antennas to Ukrainian citizens, so that those who have seen their lives affected by the war can communicate with the rest of the world. This has caused that the Starlink antennas are currently an important piece to maintain a certain stability in Ukraine .
Even the army of the country invaded by Russia uses its wireless networks to plan counterattacks against Russian troops . In an interview with the US magazine Wired, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that ” The Starlink system is very, very effective .” When the country’s cities lost their terrestrial Internet networks due to Russian bombing, disinformation increased the social instability of its inhabitants, but Starlink has been helping to improve their situation.
Zelensky added that: “To lose contact with these people is to totally lose control, lose reality. Believe me, the people who came out of the occupied cities, where there was no Starlink assistance, said that the Russians had explained to them that Ukraine already did not exist , and some even believed it. We are very grateful for the support of Starlink.
Public and private donations
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Zelensky government asked Elon Musk for support , as the country was experiencing major outages in its Internet network. The tycoon agreed, sending a total of 15,000 receiving antennas and moving 50 of Starlink’s satellites to eastern Europe. Of those 15,000, the United States government donated 1,300, and the vast majority were provided by the company. In addition, the same company decided not to charge its Internet services to Ukrainian users, the cost of which is 110 dollars per month.
Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov also hailed the success of the Starlink system in support of his country. Back in May, he claimed that around 150,000 people were benefiting from Starlink’s internet services . Shortly after, in June, this minister made public the company’s license as an Internet operator in Ukraine. Thus, shortly before the summer began, Starlink had already become the main provider of these services in the European country.
A dilemma for Musk
A week ago, Elon Musk announced that the help of the Starlink system to Ukraine could not be financed indefinitely , so the tycoon asked the US government for help to continue the work. He was even about to stop operating the company in the Eastern European country. However, he recently posted a tweet announcing his determination to continue helping Ukrainians: “To hell with that. Although Starlink continues to lose money and other companies receive billions of dollars from taxpayers, we will continue to fund the Government of Ukraine for free” .
The billionaire, who assures that he can suffer losses of up to 100 million dollars, has therefore corrected his course and will continue with the aid. It should be added that most of the terminals have been provided by Poland, the European Union and private companies from the old continent, including some from Ukraine.
Ukrainian businessman Dimko Zhluktenko says that: “I have not seen any Starlink that has been bought by governments or by SpaceX. All the ones I have seen and used were bought by volunteers like me, or even soldiers put their own money.” This has already launched several crowdfunding campaigns to finance Starlink terminals , among other aid to Ukraine.