Starlink in Ukraine can no longer be funded by SpaceX; it requests payment from the US

In a letter to the Pentagon, SpaceX warns that unless the US government steps in to shoulder the costs, it may no longer be able to provide Starlink terminals in Ukraine.

According to CNN (Opens in a new window) , SpaceX requested in a letter to the US Defense Department on September 8 that the US government begin funding the Ukraine’s Starlink access, which has grown to be essential for assisting the nation’s armed forces in their battle against Russian forces.

SpaceX reportedly told the Pentagon, “We are not in a position to further contribute terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an unlimited period of time.

On Twitter, Elon Musk appeared to confirm CNN’s findings. The SpaceX CEO claimed in an tweet (Opens in a new window) on Friday that his company has spent tens of millions of dollars operating the Starlink service in Ukraine while defending against Russian intrusions. He continued, “Burn is reaching $20M/month.”

On Twitter, someone else pointed out that the SpaceX request came after Musk told the Ukrainian envoy to “f*** off” when he proposed a peace proposal for the conflict that many perceived as pro-Russian. Musk tweeted (Opens in a new window) replied, “We’re just going along with his recommendation.”

Musk also stated earlier this month in an tweeted (Opens in a new window) that Starlink is still costing SpaceX money. It must be remembered that Starlink is still far from having a positive cash flow. Since all LEO (low-Earth orbit) communications networks have failed to date, assistance is greatly appreciated.

Contrary to Musk’s earlier assertions, the CNN story states that US and foreign governments already contribute significantly to the Starlink service in Ukraine. According to SpaceX’s letter to the Pentagon last month, 85% of the 20,000 Starlink dishes in Ukraine were fully or partially funded by nations like the US, Poland, and the UK, as well as other organizations like NGOs and charitable foundations. 30% of Starlink’s internet connectivity in Ukraine was financed by the same governments and organizations.

A few charity workers in Ukraine have also stated on Twitter in reaction to CNN’s story that numerous local Ukrainian citizens and military have been paying for Starlink connections in the nation—not SpaceX.

Tweet (Opens in a new window) Tweet (Opens in a new window) In order to pay for the Starlink access in Ukraine for the remainder of the year, SpaceX has now informed the Pentagon that it would cost more than $120 million. For the next year, the US will also have to pay close to $400 million to retain Starlink connectivity in the nation.


Top Pentagon officials apparently took offense at the SpaceX financing proposal. Even though the US and other governments have previously been paying the project and are now being requested to contribute even more, a defense official told CNN that SpaceX has “the gall to look like heroes.”

The situation has been complicated by Musk’s own position on the war. Although the CEO of SpaceX claims to support Ukraine, he is also concerned that if the battle continues, it will turn into a nuclear war with Russia. As a result, Musk tweeted a peace plan that many perceived as pro-Kremlin since it called on Ukraine to cede the disputed area of Crimea to Russia.

The Financial Times reports that while utilizing Starlink in areas recaptured from Russian forces, Ukrainian soldiers have experienced disruptions. Although it seems the disturbances have ceased (Opens in a new window) , for the time being, it’s possible that SpaceX’s geo-restrictions for Starlink were the source of the outages.

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