Elon Musk is delivering on his public promise to bring SpaceX Starlink terminals to Ukraine.
As a war rages in Ukraine following an invasion by Russia that began last week, internet service in Ukraine has been experiencing “significant disruptions,” according to a report from monitoring group Netblocks. Now, after promising as such on Twitter, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has provided Ukraine with internet connectivity through the company’s Starlink satellites.
On Monday (Feb. 28), Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister and the country’s minister of digital transformation, shared a photo on Twitter of a batch of additional terminals that can be used to access SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service.
Starlink — here. Thanks, @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/dZbaYqWYCfFebruary 28, 2022
Ukraine’s lack of connectivity became so severe that on Saturday (Feb. 26), Fedorov asked SpaceX CEO Elon Musk for assistance on Twitter.
@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.February 26, 2022
“@ElonMusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand,” Fedorov said.
Musk was quick to respond, stating that SpaceX had activated its Starlink internet service in Ukraine and that it was sending additional Starlink tech to the country. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
And today, just two days later, Fedorov shared the image of the newly-arrived terminals in Ukraine.
“Starlink — here. Thanks, @elonmusk,” Fedorov tweeted, to which Musk replied: “You are most welcome.”
But Musk is making good on his promise in more ways than one. Not only did the technology arrive in Ukraine, but there are already reports showing that it’s up and running.
“Success! SpaceX Starlink is working in Kyiv, Ukraine!” Twitter user Oleg Kutkov stated online. According to Kutkov’s post, they were connected with download speeds of 136.76 Mbps and upload speeds of 23.93 Mbps and they were able to access Starlink internet with their iPhone.
Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people and the capital of Ukraine, is one of multiple areas in the country where Russian attacks have been reported. For days, Kyiv has been bombarded by missile strikes, according to the New York Times.
Kutkov’s successful connection in Kyiv was also lauded by astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell on Twitter. With this access, the Starlink satellites are “providing internet independent of local infrastructure. Kudos to SpaceX,” McDowell said.
SpaceX’s Starlink internet service is designed to provide high-speed broadband internet access to remote areas around the globe that may lack such infrastructure. This is achieved via a megaconstellation of Starlink internet satellites, which SpaceX has been routinely launching to low Earth orbit. There are currently over 2,000 functional Starlink satellites in orbit and SpaceX has clearance to launch up to 12,000 of the spacecraft, though the company aims to launch 30,000 more.
Most recently, on Friday (Feb. 25), SpaceX lofted a new batch of 50 more Starlink satellites into orbit to restore communications and provide internet access free-of-charge to those living on the island of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean as recently, a massive volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami hit the region. SpaceX plans to launch its next batch of Starlink satellites this Thursday (March 3) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.