SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his space company's Starlink satellite internet service is available in Ukraine and more terminals to use it are on the way.
Musk made the statement on Twitter Saturday (Feb. 26) after being asked by a Ukrainian government official if SpaceX could provide more Starlink services to the country after Russian troops invaded Ukraine last week. Internet services in Ukraine has seen "significant disruptions" in the capital city of Kyiv and across much of the country due to Russian military operations and the ensuing fighting, the monitoring group Netblocks reported on Thursday (Feb. 24).
"@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,” Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who is also the country's minister of digital transformation, asked Musk on Twitter Saturday.
"Starlink service is now active in Ukraine," Musk replied. "More terminals en route."
Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.February 26, 2022
SpaceX's Starlink service offers high-speed broadband access via a massive constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit and is designed to ultimately provide coverage anywhere on Earth, with a focus on remote areas or underserved regions. Starlink users access the space-based internet service using a satellite dish placed on or near the location where service is needed.
Musk and SpaceX recently sent 50 Starlink terminals to the island nation of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean to provide free internet access to help reconnect remote villages there after a massive volcano eruption and tsunami in January, according to Reuters. The Starlink terminals will help restore communications with some of the hardest hit regions from the natural disaster.
Since 2019, SpaceX has launched over 2,000 of the satellites for the constellation, which is expected to reach up to 14,000 in its initial form. The company's most recent launch occurred on Friday (Feb. 25), when SpaceX lofted 50 new Starlink satellites into orbit from a pad at California's Vandenberg Space Force Base.
SpaceX's next Starlink mission is expected to lift off later this week on Thursday (March 3) from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.