Elon Musk says SpaceX will continue funding Starlink's Ukraine operations

Starlink logo in front of Ukraine flag

SpaceX had earlier asked the Pentagon to fund its Starlink satellite services in Ukraine. The operation has already cost SpaceX $80 million till date, which will exceed to more than $100 million by the end of the year. Now however, Elon Musk has tweeted that SpaceX will continue funding Starlink's services for free.

Elon Musk has also confirmed his statement to the Financial Times and added that SpaceX will fund Starlink in Ukraine "indefinitely".

Previously, Elon Musk explained how SpaceX can simply not afford to fund the existing system while also send more terminals as the Russian army keeps destroying the existing ones.

Starlink's satellite internet in Ukraine is a vital source of communication for not only the citizens of Ukraine but for its army as well. The services has enabled the army to stay connected after the regular cell towers were bombed and destroyed.

In addition to paying for terminals, launch, maintain, and replenish satellites and ground stations, while also paying telcos for access to the internet via gateways, Starlink is also defending its operations against cyber attacks and jamming. All this is costing SpaceX around $20 million a month.

The Pentagon also confirmed that it has been discussing payments with SpaceX, while also looking for potential alternatives. Pentagon's deputy press secretary, Sabrina Singh, told reporters:

"There’s not just SpaceX, there are other entities that we can certainly partner with when it comes to providing Ukraine with what they need on the battlefield.”

She also added that officials understand the fragility of the Ukrainian communications system and are “assessing our options and trying to do what we can to help keep these capabilities to ensure that these communications remain for the Ukrainian forces.”

Source: Financial Times (paywall)

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