Elon Musk deploys Starlink over Ukraine to prevent blackouts

Hannibal Hanschke via Reuters Elon Musk, December 1, 2020 in Berlin.

Hannibal Hanschke via Reuters

WAR IN UKRAINE – Pressed to react to the war in Ukraine like many tech players, the boss of Tesla and Space X, Elon Musk, pledged, on the night of Saturday February 26 to Sunday February 27, to help the Ukrainians. In a short tweet in response to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, in charge of the digital sector, he announced that “the service [d’internet par satellite] Starlink is now in operation” in Ukraine and that “other terminals are on the way”.

The Starlink service allows residents of areas poorly served by the fixed and mobile networks of telecom operators to have access to the Internet, via thousands of small satellites circulating in low orbit (mainly 550 kilometers) around the Earth. But it also needs ground stations all around the globe communicating with satellites.

SpaceX launched on February 25 a second cargo of about fifty Starlink satellites intended to provide an internet connection to customers around the world. On Saturday, it was unclear how users in Ukraine had the ground capabilities to receive the service.

Ten hours earlier, Mykhailo Fedorov had challenged the billionaire on the social network, asking him to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations, in order to compensate for possible Internet cuts. “While you’re trying to colonize Mars, Russia is trying to occupy Ukraine,” he tweeted. If your rockets land successfully from space, Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civilians! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations.”

He also called on the boss of Tesla and the SpaceX group to encourage “sane Russians” to oppose their government.

Since Moscow attacked its neighbor on Thursday February 24, Ukraine has urged tech giants, from Apple to Google to Netflix, to sever their ties with Russia.

See also on the HuffPost: Why Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites have infuriated astronomers

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