SpaceX cannot ‘fund the system indefinitely’ Starlink in Ukraine, warns Elon Musk

The company SpaceX no longer has the means to continue financing the Starlink Internet network in Ukraine. His boss Elon Musk on Friday pointed out the cost of this system and called on the US government to take over. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, SpaceX has provided thousands of terminals there, which provide an Internet connection through a constellation of satellites that form the Starlink network.

About 25,000 terminals have been deployed in the country to date, according to Elon Musk. According to the SpaceX boss, the operation has already cost the company $80 million, and the bill is expected to reach $100 million by the end of the year. On Friday, he warned that the space company “(could not) continue to fund the existing system indefinitely and send thousands of additional terminals (…). This is not fair. ยป

According to CNN, SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon last month indicating it could no longer afford the cost of service in Ukraine. The company, according to CNN, asked the US Department of Defense to take over funding for the Ukrainian government and its military’s use of Starlink. The cost was estimated at $400 million over the next 12 months.

The Starlink network has helped maintain internet coverage in areas of Ukraine affected by the Russian military. By June, about 15% of Ukraine’s existing Internet infrastructure had been destroyed or damaged, authorities said. “Starlink is the only communication system that continues to work at the front, all the others are dead,” Elon Musk tweeted Friday night.

“Russia is actively trying to kill Starlink”

“Russia is actively trying to kill Starlink. For its protection, SpaceX has diverted massive resources to defense,” he added. The billionaire warned that despite these resources being earmarked for Starlink’s defense, the system may well disappear.

According to the British daily Financial Times, Ukrainian forces may have suffered Starlink service cuts on the frontline, which would have slowed their counteroffensive before the situation improved. “As far as we know, SpaceX has not interrupted its service to civilian government agencies of Ukraine and operators of critical infrastructure,” a spokesman for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said on Friday evening.

Ukrainian telecom operators have also been hit by several cyber attacks. Elon Musk assures that, with the exception of a “small percentage”, all the costs of installing and maintaining Starlink terminals in Ukraine have been borne by SpaceX.

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