Science

Elon Musk says SpaceX will continue to pay for Starlink satellite Internet service in Ukraine

Elon Musk said SpaceX will continue funding its Starlink internet service in Ukraine on Saturday (Oct. 15), abandoning the company’s push to ask the Pentagon to pay the bill.

The CEO and billionaire SpaceX tweeted that his space company will continue to provide free Starlink internet services to Ukraine, which is currently fighting a Russian invasion, after saying earlier this month that the effort cost SpaceX $80 million. (will open in a new tab) to date.

“To hell with all this… although Starlink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions of taxpayer dollars, we will just continue to fund the government of Ukraine for free,” Musk wrote. (will open in a new tab) on Twitter on Saturday.

Related: Elon Musk says SpaceX won’t continue funding Starlink in Ukraine, asks Pentagon to take over

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Musk’s statement followed the CNN report. (will open in a new tab) in a letter to SpaceX asking the US military to begin covering the costs of Starlink service in Ukraine. CNN reported (will open in a new tab) that SpaceX wrote to the Pentagon in September that the company could no longer provide the Starlink service in Ukraine for free, adding that it would cost the company $120 million through the end of 2022 and about $400 million over the next 12 months.

“We are unable to further donate terminals to Ukraine or finance existing terminals for an indefinite period,” the letter says.

Elon Musk and SpaceX began shipping Starlink terminals, which provide access to the company’s satellite internet service, to Ukraine in late February, shortly after Russian troops invaded and a public call for help from Ukrainian authorities.

SpaceX President Gwynn Shotwell said at the time that the company had been working on the project for several weeks before Mikhail Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister and the country’s digital transformation minister, issued a call for help via Twitter on Feb. 2. 26. By Feb. On January 28, the first Starlink terminals appeared in Ukraine.

By early April, SpaceX and USAID announced a public-private partnership that brought 5,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine, with more than 3,000 provided directly by SpaceX. To date, SpaceX has installed about 20,000 terminals in Ukraine. (will open in a new tab) New York Times.

SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Service is a space-based broadband network that aims to provide global access to high-speed Internet using a huge constellation of satellites in orbit. To do this, SpaceX launches satellites at high speed, with dozens of satellites being launched into orbit at the same time during nearly weekly launches. The service costs $110 per month and the initial one-time hardware cost is $599.

SpaceX’s latest Starlink launch took place on October 5, when the company launched 52 more Starlink satellites into orbit. SpaceX has launched over 3,400 Starlink satellites while working on a constellation of 12,000 satellites. The company has also applied for permission to launch another 30,000 satellites to expand its internet network.

Write to Tarik Malik at tmalik@ (will open in a new tab) or follow him @tariqjmalik (will open in a new tab). Follow us @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab)facebook (will open in a new tab) and instagram (will open in a new tab).

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