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Elon Musk says SpaceX will keep paying for Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine

"To hell with it," Musk said on Twitter adding that SpaceX will keep funding Ukraine's Starlink after all.

On Saturday (Oct. 15), Elon Musk said that SpaceX will keep subsidising its Starlink internet service in Ukraine, reversing the company's initial drive to ask the Pentagon to foot the price.

After claiming earlier this month that the effort has cost SpaceX $80 million(opens in new tab) to date, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX stated on Twitter that his spaceflight company will continue to provide Starlink internet service to Ukraine, which is currently fending off a Russian invasion, at no cost.

Musk said on Twitter on Saturday, "To hell with it... even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are collecting billions of taxpayer dollars, we'll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free."

Musk's comment follows a CNN report on a letter from SpaceX requesting that the U.S. military start paying for Starlink service in Ukraine. According to CNN(opens in new tab), in a letter sent to the Pentagon in September, SpaceX informed the government that it could no longer afford to provide Starlink service in Ukraine at no cost, and that doing so would cost it $120 million for the remainder of 2022 and an estimated $400 million for the following twelve months.

The letter explained that "We are not in a position to give additional terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an endless period of time."

In late February, shortly after Russian troops invaded and after Ukrainian authorities publicly requested assistance, Elon Musk and SpaceX started delivering Starlink terminals, which give users access to the company's satellite internet service.

The idea had been in the works for weeks, according to SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell at the time, before Mykhailo Fedorov, the vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation of Ukraine, issued a request for assistance on Twitter on February 26. The first Starlink terminals had arrived in Ukraine by February 28.

A public-private cooperation between SpaceX and USAID resulted in the delivery of 5,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine by the beginning of April, with more than 3,000 of those terminals coming directly from SpaceX. According to the New York Times(opens in new tab), SpaceX has launched around 20,000 terminals to Ukraine as of this writing.

With the help of a massive constellation of satellites in orbit, SpaceX's Starlink internet service intends to provide global access to high-speed internets. To achieve this, SpaceX has been launching satellites at a prodigious rate, placing dozens of satellites into orbit at once during missions that occur almost weekly. The monthly subscription fee is $110, plus a $599 one-time hardware investment.

On Oct. 5, SpaceX carried out its most recent Starlink launch, putting 52 more Starlink satellites into orbit. As it works to create a constellation of 12,000 satellites, SpaceX has already launched more than 3,400 Starlink satellites. To expand its internet network, the business has also asked for authorization to launch an additional 30,000 satellites.

Edited by: Satyavrat Singh

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