Spacex CEO Elon Musk says his company “will continue to fund“free of charge to the Ukrainian government, even if Starlink loses money, noting that providing terminals and Internet services to Ukraine has cost Spacex $80 million so far. “We also had to defend against cyberattacks and jamming, which are becoming increasingly difficult“, Elon Musk pointed out.
We will continue to fund Ukraine for free, says Musk
Spacex has been sending Starlink Internet terminals and providing services to Ukraine since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. At the request of the Ukrainian government, Musk began providing the country with Starlink Internet terminals in February.
However, Spacex’s director of government sales reportedly sent a letter to the Pentagon in September stating that the company is not “in a position to make new terminal donations to Ukraine, nor to fund existing terminals indefinitely“. The Pentagon has reportedly confirmed that it has received correspondence from Spacex regarding funding for the Starlink satellite communications product in Ukraine.
Musk tweeted about on October 7 explaining that “only a small percentage“of Starlink terminals and services in Ukraine has been paid for. The head of Spacex revealed:
This operation cost Spacex $80M & it will exceed $100M by the end of the year.
Responding to a question on Twitter about the amount Spacex spent “on keeping Starlink in Ukraine“, Musk detailed: “In addition to terminals, we have to create, launch, maintain & resupply satellites & earth stations & pay telecom operators for internet access via gateways. We also had to defend against cyber attacks and jamming, which are becoming increasingly difficult. Burns approach ~$20M/month“.
Musk also shared In a tweet on October 9: “There are ~25k terminals in Ukraine, but each terminal can be used to provide an internet uplink to a cell tower, so potentially several thousand people can be served by a single terminal.“
SpaceX’s request is reasonable. Shouldn’t expect a private sec co. to continue to fund this for free forever. Do Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop, etc do their work for free? SpaceX was generous in donating what they did; they’ll happily cont. to mfg terminals with gov money.@elonmusk https://t.co/WmC1WkWJur
– Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) October 14, 2022
Commenting on Spacex’s inability to continue providing free products and services to Ukraine, follower Sawyer Merritt stated: “Spacex’s request is reasonable. You can’t expect a private sector company to keep funding this for free forever. Do Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop, etc. do their work for free? Spacex has been generous in giving what it has and will gladly continue to make terminals with government money.“
However, some people criticized Musk for his company’s letter to the Pentagon. Elon Musk then tweeted at Saturday:”Hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer dollars, we’ll just keep funding the Ukrainian government for free.“
The hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money; other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 15, 2022
It was not immediately clear whether the Tesla CEO was being sarcastic or whether Spacex intends to continue providing free products and services to Ukraine. In response to a tweet about the move, Musk clarified, “we should still do some good deeds“.
Elon Musk explained on October 14 that there is a “big difference“between communications for peace and communications for the war front. “Starlink is the only communication system still working on the war front – the others are all dead. Russia is actively trying to kill Starlink. To protect itself, Spacex has diverted massive resources to defense. Despite this, Starlink may yet die.“, he warned. Spacex boss described In a tweet following:”Internet fiber, phone lines, cell towers & other space communications in war zones have been destroyed. Starlink is all that’s left. For now.“
Internet fiber, phone lines, cell towers & other space-based comms in war areas have been destroyed.
Starlink is all that’s left. For now.https://t.co/CdjbOWgziz
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 15, 2022
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, tweeted October 14: “Elon Musk is definitely among the world’s leading private donors supporting Ukraine. Starlink is a critical part of our critical infrastructure.“He also shared October 12:
More than 100 cruise missiles attacked the power and communications infrastructure. But with Starlink we quickly restored connectivity in critical areas. Starlink continues to be an essential part of critical infrastructure.