SpaceX satellites boost internet service in Ukraine

(NEXSTAR) — Cyberattacks and internet disruptions have been part of Russia’s military assault of Ukraine.

Combat with Russia on the streets of Ukraine has knocked out much of the country’s internet connectivity.

Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk responded to a call for help from a Ukraine official on Saturday by dispatching SpaceX’s Starlink broadband internet service.

Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted, “@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!”

It took less than 12 hours for Musk to respond.

“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk tweeted in response on Saturday.

Internet service is especially unstable in southern and eastern Ukraine, Reuters reports. These areas have seen the worst of the invasion so far.

Starlink is a constellation of satellites low-orbiting the Earth. The Starlink website explains the service is “ideal for rural and remote communities” where the internet is unreliable. Back in January, Reuters reports Musk said there were 1,469 active Starlink satellites and 272 moving into orbit soon.

This isn’t the first time Starlink has aided a nation in distress. Free Internet was provided to the island nation of Tonga, which is recovering from a volcanic eruption and tsunami that took place in January.

While extremely costly to deploy, satellite technology can also be a critical backstop when hurricanes or other natural disasters disrupt communication.

War in Ukraine

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