ANOTHER truckload of Elon Musk’s emergency internet satellite dishes is on its way to Ukraine as the country’s connectivity crumbles at the hands of Russia.
The billionaire warned that some Starlink kits already in use near conflict zones are blocked by Russian forces for several hours.
Thousands of satellites owned by Mr Musk’s SpaceX company have become a lifeline for the war-torn country, where traditional wired connections were badly damaged by the devastating invasion.
The contractor tweeted that the focus was now on “cyber defense” and “overcoming signal jamming”.
It comes after he recently warned users that there is a “high” chance Russia is trying to spy on them.
“Some Starlink terminals near conflict zones were blocked for several hours at a time,” he said.
“Our latest software update bypasses the jamming.
“I’m curious to see what happens next! »
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was “grateful” for Mr Musk’s support during the crisis.
The pair spoke last week and discussed possible space projects.
But Mr Zelenskyy remained coy about the exact details, saying: “I’ll talk about it after the war.”
Mr Musk offered to help after receiving a desperate plea from Ukraine’s deputy prime minister at the start of the invasion.
Mykhailo Fedorov – who is also Ukraine’s digital minister – said Starlink has played a key role in keeping emergency services connected and saving lives.
An emergency update was recently rolled out to the system to reduce peak power consumption, meaning Starlink can run from a car cigarette lighter.
Mobile roaming features have also been enabled, so moving vehicles can also stay online.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a satellite project launched by billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2015.
Musk aims to put 12,000 satellites into Earth orbit over the next decade, rising to 42,000 in the future.
The “mega-constellation” will eventually be able to broadcast internet coverage anywhere on the planet, according to SpaceX.
The California-based company says its network will provide users with high-speed, low-latency internet coverage.
Latency is the time it takes to send data from one point to another.
Because Starlink satellites are 60 times closer to Earth than most satellites, SpaceX’s WiFi latency is lower than that of traditional satellite internet.
The company sends its satellites in batches of 60 at a time and has deployed more than 1,400 into orbit since 2019.
They are launched from Cape Carnaveral in Florida atop unmanned Falcon 9 rockets, also built by SpaceX.
The effect of low-orbit technology on views of the night sky is a major concern, as they appear brighter than many stars and planets.
Astronomers and amateur astronomers have repeatedly criticized SpaceX for ruining their observations.
The company says its satellites don’t glow until soon after launch because they’re in low orbit.
For several weeks, the satellites drift away from Earth, seemingly easing their effect on space observations.
The hacking of satellites “reason to go to war”
It comes after Vladimir Putin’s space chief said hacking satellites was “a reason to go to war”, as hacker group Anonymous shut down Roscosmos.
Dmitry Rogozin denied the agency had been hacked, but sent a chilling message to anyone who might try.
“I want to warn anyone who tries to do this that this is basically a crime, which must be punished severely,” he told Russian media.
“Because turning off any country’s satellite group is usually a casus belli, that is, a reason to go to war.
“And we will look for those who organized it.
“We will send all necessary documents to the Federal Security Service, the Investigative Committee and the Attorney General’s Office for the relevant criminal cases to be opened.”
Everything you need to know about the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Everything you need to know about the Russian invasion of Ukraine…
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