SpaceX Starlink internet service has 150,000 daily users in Ukraine as citizens of war-torn parts of the country fight to stay connected, government official reveals
- Elon Musk’s SpaceX now has around 150,000 daily users of Starlink in Ukraine
- Satellite internet service was only activated in war-torn country 10 weeks ago
- Ukraine’s vice prime minister said it was providing ‘crucial support’ for country
- Starlink has set up 10,000 terminals – dishes that connect users to its satellites
SpaceX now has about 150,000 daily users of its Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine — almost 10 weeks after being activated in the war-torn country.
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, tweeted that Elon Musk’s Starlink was providing ‘crucial support’ for the country’s infrastructure and ‘restoring the destroyed territories’.
‘Ukraine will stay connected no matter what,’ he added.
Last month, the Starlink app – which allows people access to a satellite-based internet service – became the most-downloaded app in Ukraine.
As of March 15, it had been downloaded almost 100,000 times.
SpaceX now has about 150,000 daily users of its Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine — almost 10 weeks after being activated in the war-torn country
Ukraine vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted that Elon Musk’s Starlink was providing ‘crucial support’ for the country’s infrastructure and ‘restoring the destroyed territories’
SpaceX CEO Musk delivered the terminals that provide the service after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the country in February.
It is understood that Starlink now has about 10,000 terminals – the dishes that connect users to satellites – up and running in Ukraine.
At the end of February Musk said Starlink was activated in Ukraine and SpaceX was sending more terminals to the country, responding to a tweet by a Ukraine government official who asked Musk to provide the embattled country with Starlink stations.
Fedorov told The Washington Post in late March that his country was using ‘thousands’ of Starlink terminals.
SpaceX has not revealed exactly how many Starlink users and terminals are currently active in Ukraine.
Musk delivered the terminals for satellite-based internet following a request by Fedorov, amid concerns that Russia’s invasion could disrupt Ukraine’s internet services.
According to a leaked Tesla company email, the car maker, of which Musk is also the CEO, helped to quickly deliver the Starlink infrastructure.
It is understood that Tesla battery storage systems were also provided to power them.
Fedorov replied by thanking Starlink for ‘keeping our cities connected and emergency services saving lives!’
SpaceX CEO Musk delivered the terminals that provide the service after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the country in February
Starlink is a constellation of more than 2,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, beaming internet connections to dishes around the world, with a large presence in Ukraine, introduced to keep the country online amid the ongoing Russian invasion
But he said the country needed generators to keep the satellite broadband service online because of Russian attacks on infrastructure.
In response, Musk said SpaceX was updating software to reduce peak power consumption, so Starlink can be powered from car cigarette lighters.
‘Mobile roaming enabled, so phased array antenna can maintain signal while on moving vehicle,’ he said.
When the terminal, or dish, is plugged in it automatically connects itself to the nearest Starlink satellite in the sky, of which there are more than 2,000.
The satellite then communicates with the nearest ground station, or gateway, which supplies the internet.
Such gateways are stationed around the world but cannot be too far away from the place getting an internet connection.
With Ukraine, there is a gateway in neighbouring Poland, so the internet connection travels from the gateway to the satellite, and then to the terminal.
All users have to do is plug their router into their terminal to gain internet access.
The terminals need a clear view of the sky in order to work, and there is an app to help users find a suitable spot to place them.
ELON MUSK’S SPACEX SET TO BRING BROADBAND INTERNET TO THE WORLD WITH ITS STARLINK CONSTELLATION OF SATELLITES
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 of its ‘Starlink’ space internet satellites into orbit and hopes to have 12,000 in the sky by 2026.
They form a constellation designed to provide low-cost broadband internet service from low Earth orbit.
While satellite internet has been around for a while, it has suffered from high latency and unreliable connections.
Starlink is different. SpaceX said its goal is to provide high-speed, cable-like internet all over the world.
Musk has previously said the venture could give three billion people who currently do not have access to the internet a cheap way of getting online.
It could also help fund a future city on Mars.
Helping humanity reach the red planet is one of Musk’s long-stated aims and was what inspired him to start SpaceX.
Musk’s rival Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, also plans to launch a constellation of low Earth-orbit satellites to provide broadband access to remote areas, as part of its Project Kuiper.
However, astronomers have raised concerns about the light pollution and other interference cased by these satellite constellations.