In September, SpaceX sent a letter to the Department of Defense, asking the Pentagon to cover expenses related to Ukraine’s use of its Starlink satellite internet. According to CNN, SpaceX told the department that continuing to provide the Ukrainian government with access to Starlink would cost the company over $ 120 million for the remainder of 2022 and nearly $ 400 million over the next 12 months. “We are unable to further donate terminals to Ukraine or finance existing terminals indefinitely,” the company wrote. Now, company chief Elon Musk appears to have backtracked on the decision to seek assistance from the Pentagon and wrote on Twitter that SpaceX “will keep funding [the] Ukraine [government] free “even though Starlink is still losing money.
Musk confirmed what he said in his tweet a The Financial Times and added that SpaceX will continue to finance Ukraine’s access to Starlink’s satellite Internet “indefinitely”.
When news of the letter surfaced, Musk defended his company’s position and made it clear that SpaceX is not asking the Pentagon to pay previous expenses. He explained that SpaceX simply cannot fund the existing system in Ukraine and regularly send thousands of new terminals to replace those regularly destroyed by Russian forces at the same time. Moss added that the “sting” to keep the Starlink system running in the country is $ 20 million a month, since it also had to “defend itself against cyber attacks and jamming.”
Earlier this month, Times reported that Ukrainian troops have been grappling with Starlink outages which have led to a “catastrophic” loss of frontline communications. Moss he answered that the piece “falsely claims that the Starlink terminals [and] the service was paid for when only a small percentage was paid for. ”Based on SpaceX’s letter that CNN had obtained, however, around 85 percent of the 20,000 terminals in Ukraine at the time were wholly or partially funded by the US, UK, Poland and other outside sources.
The Pentagon confirmed after knowledge of the letter went public that it was discussing payments with SpaceX but was also looking for potential alternatives. Sabrina Singh, Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary, said in a statement: “There is not just SpaceX, there are other entities we can certainly partner with when it comes to providing Ukraine with what they need on the battlefield.” .
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