Space X promises 10,000 new Starlink satellite antennas to Ukraine

Sent 20 Dec. 2022 at 16:19Updated 20 Dec. 2022 at 17:18

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov has entered into an agreement with Elon Musk’s Space X company to supply 10,000 new Starlink satellite antennas to Ukraine. The country already has 22,000, for civilian as well as military use.

“Musk and Space X respond quickly to problems,” Mykhailo Fedorov said from his office in Kiev. “Musk tells us that he will continue to support Ukraine. When we had the blackout, I contacted him the same day. He responded at the moment and has already taken action. He understands the situation. »

The announcement of the delivery of 10,000 new Starlinks comes as Russia intensifies its attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure: on December 14, after a rain of bombardments, two-thirds of the inhabitants of Kiev find themselves without water or heat, while temperatures turn negative in the region . The military escalation may continue, Vladimir Putin raises the specter of a Russian offensive that borrows Belarusian territory.

Vital satellites

The first elements of the Starlink constellation arrived in Ukraine only four days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On February 28, Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted “Starlink – here. Thanks @elonmusk”.

Starlink satellites are vital to Ukrainian troops in their defense efforts as Russia bombs Ukrainian infrastructure. Half of the Ukrainian energy grid is damaged, the authorities in Kiev say. Starlink satellite antennas operate using the power grid, but can also be powered by generators in the event of a power failure. They were of crucial help in the coordination of troops during the recapture of Kherson.

Ukraine is all the more dependent on Starlink satellites, as the European low-orbit Iris² constellation project will not be implemented until 2024. The same applies to Pentagon or Kuiper, developed by Amazon.

Previous Starlink antennas have been funded by Poland, the United States, the United Kingdom and Space X. Elon Musk claims that Space X covers 70% of the connection costs for Starlink users in Ukraine: the company provides them with the service that delivers the best speed to the price of the basic subscription, i.e. 500 dollars per month instead of 4,500 dollars.

Satellites funded by Europe

Mykhailo Fedorov said several European governments will participate in financing the 10,000 satellites promised by Space X, without specifying which ones. “At this point, all financial issues have been resolved,” said the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation.

In mid-October, Elon Musk had threatened to stop funding the satellites stationed in Ukraine. Before he retires, after an agreement in the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US defense. Deploying and maintaining the Starlink satellites will have caused Space X 80 million losses, with 100 million losses expected by January, according to company figures.

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