SpaceX boss Elon Musk announced on Saturday that he would continue to fund the Starlink internet network in Ukraine, returning to his calls the day before for the US government to take over.
“Never mind… even if Starlink still loses money and other companies get billions of taxpayer dollars, we will continue to fund the Ukrainian government,” the richest man in the city tweeted. world.
Estimated cost of $400 million over the next 12 months
On Friday, Elon Musk warned that SpaceX “(could) not continue to fund the existing system indefinitely and send thousands of additional terminals (…). This is not reasonnable. »
SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon last month indicating that it could no longer afford the costs of service in Ukraine, CNN reported.
According to the TV station, the company was asking the US Department of Defense to take over funding for the use of Starlink by the Ukrainian government and its military, which was estimated to cost $400 million for the 12 months to come. come.
Starlink used to calculate missile trajectory
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, SpaceX has delivered thousands of terminals there which provide an Internet connection through a constellation of satellites forming the Starlink network. Some 25,000 terminals have thus been deployed in the country to date. Elon Musk assures that with the exception of a “small percentage”, all the costs of deploying and maintaining Starlink terminals in Ukraine have been borne by SpaceX.
The Starlink network has helped maintain internet coverage in areas of Ukraine hit by the Russian military. By June, about 15% of Ukraine’s existing internet infrastructure had been destroyed or damaged, authorities said.
Starlink is also widely used by Ukrainian forces to calculate the trajectory of their missiles and geolocate their targets.