Ukraine has been under attack by the armed forces of Russia since February 24. The attack has devastated targeted country’s communications infrastructure. In much of Ukraine, the only non-Russian means of communication now available is the Starlink system, a next-generation form of broadband offered by SpaceX, one of Elon Musk’s companies. For now, this form of communication is enabling Ukraine to fight on.
The Starlink system first went live in May 2019 with the ascent into orbit of a group of 60 Starlink satellites, with the goal of offering high-speed, low-latency broadband internet around the globe.
By 2021 the network, (which Musk calls a “constellation,”) had grown to more than 1,700 satellites.
Many of the soldiers now fighting for Ukraine are unexperienced and untrained. The need for speed-of-light communication in order to coordinate their activities is paramount.
Beyond that, the civilian population too now relies on Starlink for the dissemination of information about imminent attacks and to coordinate emergency responses.
Strange New Worlds:
On March 4, Musk tweeted that SpaceX had “reprioritized to cyber defense and overcoming signal jamming.” SpaceX will work, in other words, to defend the space-based system on which Ukraine is now reliant.