Elon Musk has said that his SpaceX will continue to pay for Starlink satellite internet in Ukraine, one day after indicating he was unwilling to provide the service for free, claiming costs of $20m a month.
“The hell with it,” Musk posted on Twitter. “Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free.”
The tweet followed comments from Musk on Friday that he felt it was unfair that SpaceX didn’t receive subsidies from the US military to operate Starlink in Ukraine, claiming that competitors such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing received “billions” to provide resources.
The US military confirmed it was on contact with SpaceX about providing funding for the satellite internet network.
CNN had published memos sent from SpaceX to the Pentagon which made it clear the space exploration firm were not happy for the situation to continue. “We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote in the published communications.
Starlink, which uses 3,000 small satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide a wireless internet signal from space, has been vital to Ukraine’s communications as it to push back against the Russian invasion.
Musk said last week that SpaceX has donated about 25,000 ground terminals to Ukraine so far. The donated terminals are believed to make up a small portion of the total number in use though, with the majority having been bought and paid for at market rates.