Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite Internet service keeps Ukrainians online in rural areas by using TV dishes equipped with antennas.
When war broke out in Ukraine, the country faced threats of Russian cyberattacks and shelling that could take down the Internet, making it necessary to develop a backup plan. Musk responded just hours later, sending thousands of antennas.
In Ukraine, the Starlink satellite communication system is used as a temporary measure to keep the government and citizens connected. In this sense, the new technology is being tested vigorously. These technologies may influence the future of armed conflict.
The use of Starlink satellite terminals in Ukraine has been accompanied by concerns that Russian attackers could use the signals to target Ukrainians. Musk warned users to turn on the terminals only when needed and keep them far away from people.
Elon Musk Starlink Ukraine
According to a British reporter (David Patrikarakos), the satellite system has proven useful:
“I want to say one thing: @elonmusk‘s Starlink is what changed the war in #Ukraine‘s favour. #Russia went out of its way to blow up all our comms. Now they can’t. Starlink works under Katyusha fire, under artillery fire. It even works in Mariupol.” pic.twitter.com/C2QnVTE3tc— David Patrikarakos (@dpatrikarakos) April 27, 2022
The Ukrainian soldier (identified only as Dima) said that Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites had helped troops stay online amid Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure.
On February 27, three days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Musk announced that Starlink was activated in the country and that more than 5,000 terminals were on their way. The terminals have proven “very effective” for Ukrainian forces in combat.
A Ukrainian official asked Elon Musk on Twitter to activate SpaceX’s Starlink service in Ukraine, and Musk responded in less than 24 hours, saying the service is now active in Ukraine. Ground terminals are now arriving, and there may be 5,000 ground units in Ukraine.
@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.— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 26, 2022
Ukraine’s military is using Starlink for rapid battlefield communication. Troops are able to post social media messages and communicate with leadership.
The Russians have tried to jam Starlink, but Musk said the latest software update bypasses the jamming and that Starlink has resisted all hacking and jamming attempts.