Billionaire Elon Musk has explained how expensive it is for SpaceX to continue operating Starlink in Ukraine as the war with Russia continues. SpaceX has asked the Department of Defense (DoD) to fund satellite internet service in the country, as the company has said it cannot afford to do so. “Before the DoD responded, I told Mikhailo Fedorov that SpaceX would not shut down Starlink even if the DoD refused to provide funding.”
Mr. Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, responded to Mr. Musk’s tweet. “It was extremely important for Ukraine. We are grateful to you!” Fedorov wrote. Since Starlink was activated in Ukraine after the invasion of Russia, the company has sent thousands of servers, and reports suggest that Starlink helped Ukrainian troops stay online during the war.
Starlink Service Funding
Despite this, Musk said SpaceX was using around $20 million to maintain service in Ukraine, and Starlink was losing money. According to documents seen by CNN, SpaceX expected the cost of operating Starlink in Ukraine to reach more than $120 million for the remainder of 2022 and nearly $400 million the following year.
Although Musk said these costs are “unreasonable,” SpaceX will continue to fund Starlink in Ukraine. Politico reported on Oct. 17 that the Pentagon has discussed whether to fund Starlink, according to two US officials involved in the project. The European Union is also considering paying for Starlink in Ukraine, as it fears the billionaire will cut internet service in the country. Musk said on Oct. 17 that SpaceX had already withdrawn its funding request from the Pentagon, according to Business Insider.