Starlink is a project of Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX. It is a constellation of satellites that has the objective of providing an internet service with global coverage at low cost. As such, it has just been activated in Ukraine, which is invaded by the Russian army.
The threat of Russia plunging Ukraine into an internet blackout has loomed ever since the invasion began, with even talk of Russian forces targeting cell phone towers.
For this reason, on Saturday, the Deputy Prime Minister and head of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, tagged Musk in a Twitter post and requested that Starlink provide its services in the country so as not to risk running out of internet in the country. the actual situation.
“Elon Musk, while trying to colonize Mars, Russia is trying to occupy Ukraine! As their rockets successfully land from space, Russian rockets attack the Ukrainian civilian population! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and turn to sane Russians to stand up,” Fedorov said on Twitter.
Although Musk had been remarkably quiet during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, a few hours later, the billionaire Musk agreed to the request and activated his system. “Starlink service is active in Ukraine now. More terminals on the way,” he said in response to Fedorov’s tweet.
Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2022
The intention is good, but the gesture has also raised questions: is this an empty promise from Musk? Is your help from him genuine or does it have another purpose?
Perhaps Musk’s move has to do with giving visibility to his service that is in the process of being deployed, rather than something that actually has an effect in Ukraine. In fact, after reporting his gesture, the tweet was filled with comments praising the good deed.
— WheereisWally✌️🤘❤️🌤️🎶 (@WheereisWally) February 26, 2022
So far, the power that Starlink may have in Ukraine or the number of satellites there are for it is unknown. In fact, it must be considered that the deployment of the service in some countries has been slow. In addition, on February 8, Starlink mentioned that 40 of the 49 satellites that the company launched in that month were destroyed by a geomagnetic stormalso called a solar storm.
On the other hand, Musk’s feat of bringing internet to Ukraine may also have problems, as driving a delivery truck full of satellite internet equipment into an active war zone is no easy logistical task. The tycoon has yet to elaborate on how it will deliver the 12-inch platters and user terminals.
Also, it should be noted that Musk has made other humanitarian promises over the years, but the follow-through hasn’t always been good, such as when he promised to help to the Thai soccer team who got trapped in a cave or when they wanted to provide ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic and He gave the wrong ones.
There is also another edge on which Musk’s actions are being questioned. “People underestimate how much SpaceX is a strategic national asset for the United States,” he said. alec stappco-founder of a Washington DC think tank
And it is that, during a war, any attitude can generate suspicions of having a second intention. Despite not being directly involved, the United States is not a country alien to this armed conflict, as it has been declared enemy of russia in international diplomatic relations and is a very strong region in NATO, the military and political alliance that Ukraine wants to join, which, in turn, is one of the causes of the confrontation.
As reported various mediaStarlink launched spy satellites into the atmosphere from California in early February, although there is no evidence that Musk’s help for Ukraine has anything to do with US interests in the conflict.
Either way, it remains to be seen whether Ukrainians on the front lines will be able to keep in touch using Starlink and receive Musk’s hardware.