Musk Lights Up Ukraine With Starlink Internet In Wonderful Show Of Humanitarian Support
Elon Musk announced on Twitter Saturday that Starlink Internet service is now active in war torn Ukraine. His response came after Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister, reached out on the social platform asking Musk to assist the country with internet service independent of the country's existing networks.
SpaceX had a successful launch of 50 new Starlink satellites this past Friday, while also announcing internet service to Tonga. Musk tweeted that while internet was a little patchy to those in Tonga, it would improve dramatically as laser inter-satellite links activated. Tonga was recently devastated after a massive volcanic eruption set off a tsunami back in January. But it was a tweet from Ukraine that garnered Musk's attention on Saturday, and had the tech billionaire reaching back out with good news.
Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted out yesterday, "@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!" Fedorov pleaded, "We ask you to provide Ukrainian with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand."
Musk did not take long to respond to the Ukrainian plea, as he responded, "Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route."
Starlink is comprised of a network of satellites that can provide internet service to those who typically would be unable to physically connect to the world wide web via wired networks. Once launched, Starlink satellites will be in one of three phases of flight: (1) orbit raise, (2) parking orbit, (3) on-station. While some of the satellites go directly to station, others will pause in parking orbit to allow the satellites to precess to a different orbital plane. Once a satellite is on-station, it will reconfigure so the antennas face Earth and the solar array goes vertical so that it can track the Sun to maximize power generation. The fact that there are satellites that are not yet on-station, allows Starlink to redirect them to locations such as Ukraine for operation.
SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 satellites into orbit since 2018, and there are plans to eventually have as many as 12,000 making up its network of high-speed internet service. It is unclear if Ukraine had any Starlink terminals before the Russian invasion, or how Musk intends on delivering more to the embroiled country. But there is no doubt that Elon Musk's tweet was a welcomed message to those in Ukraine that are under assault at the moment.
*Update 2/28/2022: Ukraine Vice Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, shared a photo of Starlink terminals arriving in the war-torn country. The photo (seen below) was shared via Federov's Twitter account. Musk responded to his tweet saying, "You are most welcome".
Top Image, Credit: Starlink CCO