War, this is how the US and SpaceX are guaranteeing the Internet in Ukraine

by Chiara Rossi

SpaceX and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have sent 5,000 Starlink terminals, the satellite Internet service of Elon Musk's company, to Ukraine. All the details

The US government is helping and financing SpaceX in shipping thousands of Starlink terminals for the satellite Internet network in Ukraine. This was announced by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), stating that it has already delivered 5,000 Starlink terminals to the government in Kiev. Starlink is the satellite Internet service of SpaceX, Elon Musk's aerospace company, which allows users in remote regions to access the Internet at broadband speeds with terminals or antennas similar to a small television dish. In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 26, Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, asked Musk on Twitter to send Starlink terminals to the country. Fedorov said broadband Internet service "keeps our cities connected and emergency services save lives" in the event of an outage. Musk granted the request. But the shipment of the terminals is not the result of the "pure charity" of the aerospace company. As the US government is helping SpaceX finance and ship the terminals to Ukraine. And the connection guaranteed by the Starlink satellite constellation also plays a military role. The Ukrainian Army's Aerorozvidka Specialized Air Reconnaissance Unit operates modified drones with thermal cameras to view Russian military vehicles. The drones are equipped with anti-tank grenades that are thrown at the target. As reported by the London Times in mid-March. All the details. WHAT HAVE USAID AND SPACEX DONE FOR UKRAINE The US agency said SpaceX donated 3,667 terminals and the Internet service itself, while USAID bought the remaining 1,333 terminals. According to the USAid press release, the public-private partnership then sent 5,000 Starlink terminals to the country. "The Starlink satellite terminals will allow unlimited and unlimited data connectivity from any part of Ukraine," reads the USAID statement. In particular, USAID spokeswoman Rebecca Chalif said that "the delivery of the Starlink terminals has been made possible by a number of stakeholders, whose combined contributions amount to $ 15 million and have facilitated procurement, international flights. , land transport and the satellite Internet service of 5,000 terminals ". THE STARLINK INTERNET SYSTEM Upon receiving the request from Kiev, Elon Musk's space company then sent the Starlink satellite kits. These are supplied with an antenna, a mounting tripod and a Wi-Fi router. Ukrainians can use Starlink kits to connect directly to the SpaceX network in orbit. To date, SpaceX has more than 2,000 Starlink satellites in orbit, covering 25 countries and over 145,000 users worldwide. These satellites guarantee access to the internet globally regardless of terrestrial connections. To connect, people need a specific Starlink terminal, a sort of router that receives data sent by satellites, different from traditional signals from ground stations. THE TWEETS OF FEDOROV And the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Fedorov continues to post pictures of the cargoes sent directly by Musk on Twitter after the request to support internet communication during the attacks in the country. The fear is in fact that, as the war continues, the critical infrastructures that keep the internet in Ukraine could be hit, with a consequent blackout for the population. The latest updates on Starlink date back to April 5th and 6th. “The specialist from a local NomeNet provider is installing the Starlink antenna in Liubech, in the Chernihiv area. The village was occupied by Russia. This man has bypassed many mined roads to reach the village and now its citizens have access to the world, "Fedorov tweeted on April 5. Then the following day Fedorov announced that: "on April 1, the mobile network operator Vodafone partially restored the connection for the residents of Irpin, freed by the Russians. This is almost the first time in the world that it is used as a mobile transport network ”. NETWORK AT THE SERVICE OF UKRAINIAN DRONES But the Starlink satellite network does not only guarantee Internet connection to the Ukrainian people. The Starlink system is supporting the Ukrainian army that pilots drones even in the event of Internet or power outages, frequent in Ukraine hit by the Russian military offensive. “Drone teams in the field, sometimes in poorly connected rural areas, are able to use Starlink to link them to targets and intelligence on their battlefield database. They can direct drones to drop anti-tank ammunition, sometimes flying silently to Russian forces at night while they sleep in their vehicles, ”explains the Telegraph.

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