SpaceX boss Elon Musk announced on Saturday October 15 that he would continue to fund the Starlink internet network in Ukraine, returning to his calls the day before to 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“, tweeted the richest man in the world.
On Friday October 14, 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 television station, the company was asking the US Department of Defense to take the funding for the use of Starlink by the Ukrainian government and its army, the cost of which was estimated at $400 million over the next 12 months.
Compensate for the destruction of infrastructure
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 “low percentage“, the entire cost of deploying and maintaining the Starlink terminals in Ukraine was borne by SpaceX.
The Starlink network has helped maintain internet coverage in areas of Ukraine hit by the Russian military. As of June, around 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.