SpaceX has delivered a shipment of Starlink user terminals to war torn Ukraine. These small antennas allow users to access the Starlink satellite internet service. They provide a welcome and much needed option for Ukrainians who have seen the destruction of communication infrastructure during the Russian invasion.
Reuters reports that connectivity to GigaTrans, Ukraine's main internet provider dropped to below 20% of normal levels during the early stages of the invasion according to internet monitoring organisation NetBlocks.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the activation of the service following a plea from Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov.
@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."
Later the same day, Federov tweeted the following:
Starlink — here. Thanks, @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/dZbaYqWYCfFebruary 28, 2022
Apart from its ground based terminals and antennas, Starlink's service is much more immune to interruptions. This makes it particularly valuable when the need for reliable internet is as critical as it is right now. It helps loved ones to keep in touch while allowing information and reporting to escape from the hardest hit regions.
In the 21st century, the influence of social media has changed the way a war is reported. Not just in the public sphere, but at the government level too. David French, a senior editor at The Dispatch told CNN that "The inspirational nature of Ukrainian resistance that is shaming a lot of Western governments, quite frankly, into action," This further emphasises the need for reliable internet so that these stories can reach the outside world.
Thank you SpaceX.