It appears that Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites are providing Ukraine with high-speed internet connectivity. As per a recent post by Ukrainian media, tests have been successfully conducted using Musk’s satellite internet system, and the results are encouraging, with Starlink reaching more than 200 megabits per second. This was despite the fact that there are no known Starlink ground stations in Ukraine.
“Ukraine conducts successful test of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet system. Speeds reached over 200 megabits per second. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk provided Ukraine with the system to make sure that Russian forces aren’t able to take down Ukraine’s internet connectivity,” The Kyiv Independent, a news agency that is covering the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine around the clock, noted on Twitter.
Speeds of over 200 Mbps may not seem very impressive for internet users who are used to the speeds of fiber-based internet, but to an area where communications infrastructure is constantly at risk, such internet speeds are invaluable. Hopefully, Elon Musk’s tweet this past weekend, which hinted that more Starlink kits are on the way to Ukraine, would prove accurate considering the country’s situation.
SpaceX’s delivery of Starlink satellite internet kits to Ukraine was accomplished within a quick timeframe. During the weekend, Musk was personally asked by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov if he could send some Starlink kits to Ukraine. Musk took about 10 hours to respond, though he later noted that Starlink service was already available in Ukraine, and more terminals were en route.
These terminals seem to have arrived in Ukraine about 48 hours after Musk’s tweet. Based on the image shared by the Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister, SpaceX has sent over a truckload of Starlink terminals. Rough estimates suggest that at least 100-200 Starlink terminals were packed in the army truck, which should be enough to provide internet access to thousands if not tens of thousands of users in the country.
SpaceX has launched over 2,000 Starlink satellites since 2019. And while this is impressive, it’s still just a fraction of the planned constellation’s size, which is estimated to reach up to ~14,000 satellites. The private space company is also ramping the deployment of its V1.5 Starlink satellites, which feature communications lasers. Only about 100 V1.5 Starlink satellites are believed to be fully operational for now, though over 300 more are expected to reach their operational altitudes within the next weeks or months.
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