Musk’s Starlink System Provides Internet Service to War-Torn Ukraine


“SpaceX Starlink Broadband Satellite Deployment over Earth” by jurvetson is marked with CC BY 2.0. Optioned under Fair Use.

Elon Musk, infamous Tesla Billionaire and SpaceX CEO, announced on February 26 that SpaceX would provide its Starlink internet service to Ukraine so that citizens of the war-torn nation can have uninterrupted access to the world wide web.

Starlink functions without the need for regular internet connections that several traditional services require.  Its constellation system of satellites was created and is supported by SpaceX. It requires both StarLink terminals to be present on the ground and for users to download an app to activate service on their device. 

Starlink’s lack of requisite hardware has proven beneficial to Ukrainians as Russia pushes into their territory with extreme force, leaving many buildings, infrastructure, and cities destroyed. This mass destruction has led many internet towers to go down, which led Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, to reach out to Elon Musk through Twitter and inquire about Starlink.

After connecting with Ukrainian officials, Musk worked with his company to deliver terminals to Ukraine in two days.  As of March 14, the Starlink app has been downloaded over 100,000 times in the beleaguered country.

The access provided by the satellite system has impacted the nation in a variety of ways. By enabling internet access, many individuals are able to stay connected with their families and loved ones.

However, if the conflict continues to worsen in Ukraine, SpaceX is uncertain if they will be able to keep their satellites online for residents. While Starlink is capable of operating without any traditional hardware, it still relies on Earth-bound hardware (terminals) to function. 

As the conflict persists, Elon Musk continues to work with Ukraine to build up its internet capability. SpaceX has sent more terminals to Ukraine, and Ukrainian officials have been extremely thankful. On Twitter, Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Musk for his help and for the CEO’s ongoing support for Ukraine since the inception of this conflict.