Funding problems: SpaceX takes 1,300 satellite terminals in Ukraine offline

• War of aggression against Ukraine: Starlink provides satellite terminals
• SpaceX is asking the Pentagon to bear the costs
• The cost is $3.25 million per month

Here’s how Starlink helped maintain communications in Ukraine

Since the beginning of the attack on Ukraine, Russia has tried to cut off the communications of Ukrainian troops. In order to support Ukraine and to ensure that the communications of the Ukrainian civilian population and the military can be maintained, Elon Musk agreed a few months ago to send Starlink kits to the attacked country. Speaking to Business Insider, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy explained how helpful the US company’s support was: “Starlink helped us a lot when it came to the blockades in our cities and occupied areas. Sometimes we had contact with these regions completely lost.”

SpaceX is asking the Pentagon for funding

As reported by US news channel CNN, Ukraine suffered a communications blackout as 1,300 SpaceX satellite units used by Ukrainian troops went offline due to funding problems. Back in September, aerospace company SpaceX wrote to the Pentagon stating that it had already spent $100 million funding Starlink in Ukraine and could no longer do so.

The demand in the letter: The Ministry of Defense should take over a larger part of the financing for the Ukrainian military. However, just a few days later, the company backtracked. Elon Musk tweeted: “To hell with that. We’re just going to keep funding the Ukrainian government for free.” Nevertheless, negotiations between the space company and the Ministry of Defense did not break off. “Negotiations are ongoing. Everyone in our building knows we’re going to pay for them,” a senior Pentagon official told CNN. He also explained that the ministry expects to receive a written commitment due to concerns that Musk might change his mind.

Most recent outage on October 24th

The latest communications blackout occurred on October 24 and was described as a “major problem” for the Ukrainian military by a person familiar with the situation. Affected was a block of 1,300 terminals that Ukraine acquired from a British company in March and that were used for combat-related operations. To keep each device running, SpaceX charged the Ukrainian military $2,500, bringing the total cost to almost $20 million by September. As a result, the military could no longer afford to maintain the terminals. The UK authorities were also asked to help cover the $3.25 million monthly cost. However, a British official stated that there were higher priority military resources. For example, one of the UK’s supportive measures is that thousands of Ukrainian troops have been flown to Britain for training before returning to the front lines. How many terminals Ukraine operates is not certain, but it is clear that the 1,300 that have been shut down represent a significant proportion.

E. Schmal/Redaktion

Image sources: SpaceX, Mykhaylo Palinchak /