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Elon Musk's SpaceX sends more Starlink terminals, power supplies to Ukraine

An artist's illustration of SpaceX's Starlink internet satellites in orbit.
An artist's illustration of SpaceX's Starlink internet satellites in orbit. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk's SpaceX has sent a second shipment of Starlink terminals to Ukraine,  generating grateful thank-yous from senior Ukrainian government officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

SpaceX delivered its first batch of Starlink terminals to Ukraine after Russia's invasion of that country on Feb. 24 caused widespread communications outages across the country. That lack of connectivity let to a government official asking Musk personally (opens in new tab) for assistance on Twitter following weeks of private negotiations. 

Ukraine is under siege due to an internationally condemned invasion by Russia that began Feb. 24, and space entities worldwide have responded with sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine.

Now with more supplies in hand, that same Ukrainian official thanked Elon Musk personally (Musk had pledged publicly to help immediately after the first request) for the Space X CEO's ongoing support.

Related: Russia's Ukraine invasion and space impacts: Live updates

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"Received the second shipment of Starlink stations! keeps his word! Thank you for supporting Ukraine and peace in the entire world," wrote Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's vice prime minister and the country's minister of digital transformation, in a Twitter post (opens in new tab) Monday (March 9).

Federov also tagged Musk, and Musk responded two hours later. "You’re welcome. We have also sent power adapters for car cigarette lighters, solar/battery packs and generators for places where electricity is not available," the SpaceX CEO wrote (opens in new tab).

President Zelensky offered his own gratitude on Twitter; the president has been very active in media in recent weeks in asking other countries to offer as much support as possible to maintain Ukraine's existence. Ukraine also wants to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, of which the United States is a part.

"Talked to @elonmusk (opens in new tab)," Zelenskyy wrote on March 5. "I'm grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds. Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities."

Zelenskyy hinted that Ukraine is interested in asking for more SpaceX services for "possible space projects" in a while, but "I'll talk about this after the war," the president added.

Satellite pictures continue to show the devastating impact of the invasion, which has also prompted the tension or disintegration of space partnerships in the largest sea change to the industry since the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. (The International Space Station remains operational as usual, according to NASA; that has Russia and the U.S. as chief partners of a multinational coalition.)

On Friday (March 11), the Guardian reported (opens in new tab) that the situation in the city of Mariupol is "critical" as it is difficult to get aid to the people there, who are lacking electricity and supplies due to the invasion. Officials estimate that more than 1,200 people have been killed in that city alone; that figure does not include those who died defending the capital of Kyiv, or other key Ukrainian cities the Russians are attacking.

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Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she tackles topics like spaceflight, diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc (opens in new tab). in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Her latest book, NASA Leadership Moments, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.