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Kyiv Independent Reports on Starlink in Ukraine

“Saint Elon” is a bit much but ...

It started with a tweet from Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation:

The quoted text below is excerpts from How Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet keeps Ukraine online in The Kyiv Independent.

“Among the Ukrainian military, Elon Musk, the richest tech entrepreneur in the U.S., is often half-jokingly referred to as ‘Saint Elon.’

The reason is Starlink, Musk’s satellite communication system that keeps many Ukrainians, most importantly the military, online despite power outages and Russia’s attacks on the country’s internet infrastructure.

[...]

It is also more secure than other types of communication: Experts say that it’s nearly impossible for Russian troops to intercept.

It is also easy to use—it takes Ukrainian soldiers just up to 20 minutes to install a Starlink dish and connect to satellite internet…

[...]

Portable white-and-gray Starlink satellite dishes can be mounted on the roof of the house, hidden in a shallow pit, or fastened to the hood of a car—anywhere with a clear view of the sky. When Ukrainian soldiers have to move positions, they carefully pack Starlink equipment and bring it to a new location, plugging the dish into a generator if the power goes out.

There are times when Musk’s satellite internet is the only way for them to keep in touch with the outside world and tell loved ones that they are alive. Starlink enabled the Ukrainian troops trapped in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to conduct live video interviews during the brutal two-month siege, calling the world to stop Russia’s terror.

The Ukrainian military relies on satellite internet to send encrypted messages to their commanders or connect drones that track and attack Russian forces.

Local internet providers, in turn, use Starlink to restore internet connectivity in heavily-shelled cities. In April, Starlink was used as a temporary solution to quickly restore the internet in the liberated areas of Kyiv Oblast, after Russian troops withdrew from it.

Ukrainian government officials praise the effectiveness of Musk’s internet and encourage foreign partners to donate more terminals to the country.

[...]

For Musk, the launch of Starlink in Ukraine is not just a gesture of goodwill, but rather a PR move that shows other international partners the power of the technology. The U.S. Air Force, for instance, awarded Starlink a contract in early August for satellite internet in Europe and Africa after watching how it helped Ukraine stay online amid Russia’s invasion.

[...]

As of now, Ukraine has received 5,000 Starlink terminals from Poland, 5,000 from the American organization USAID, another 5,000 from EU countries, and the rest from SpaceX and private companies…

[...]

Ukrainian drone operators, for instance, equip their cars with Starlink dishes and electricity generators before going to the battlefield, according to Inna Shevchuk, director of Ukrainian drone unit Aerorozvidka.

At first, the military was afraid to use Starlink terminals because their signal could allegedly be detected by Russian electronic warfare systems, Shevchuk told The Kyiv Independent.

Musk also warned about the danger of using Starlink in a war zone and recommended turning on the terminal only when needed and keeping it far away from people.

Like any software, Starlink is also vulnerable to cyberattacks. Musk said that Russia was ‘ramping up’ its cyberattacks on his company, and SpaceX had to repeatedly rewrite its code to protect the network.”

So far, the SpaceX whitehats seem to be keeping ahead of the Russian blackhats. Not hard to imagine “St. Elon” rallying the cyber troops.

There is a gofundme to keep The Kyiv Independent publishing: https://www.gofundme.com/f/kyivindependent-launch.

By Tom Evslin, Nerd, Author, Inventor

His personal blog ‘Fractals of Change’ is at blog.tomevslin.com.

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Comments

One way Starlink is being used in Ukraine Larry Press  –  Sep 8, 2022 3:52 PM

Drones spot targets and relay the coordinates via Starlink to a HIMARS mobile missile launcher which hits the target and immediately moves away—shoots and scoots. General Milley says they have struck over 400 targets that way.
https://twitter.com/larrypress/status/1567973502262845440

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