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SpaceX Restricts Ukraine’s Use of Its Satellite Internet for Drones

Starlink keeping Ukraine online - photo courtesy of Vodafone Ukraine

SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service has been seen as a great hope for connecting people in hard-to-reach areas, but it has also raised fears about the potential for weaponization and other abuse. According to COO Gwynne Shotwell, the company is pleased to help Ukraine in its “fight for freedom,” but Starlink was “never intended to be weaponized.”

During a conference in Washington, D.C . Shotwell stated that Ukrainians had utilized the technology in a manner that was not prearranged or expected. She further stated that while they are aware that the military is utilizing it for communication purposes, they did not intend for them to use it for offensive operations.

Reports have emerged that the country’s military has used the service to control drones, and Shotwell has suggested that there are ways to limit this. Ukraine’s government and military have yet to comment directly on the matter. Musk previously threatened to pull funding for Starlink in Ukraine, later reversing his position. The service has been instrumental in keeping Ukraine’s military online during the war, and Russia has attempted to jam signals and phone services in combat zones. Any satellite cutoff could cripple Ukraine’s military, highlighting Starlink’s importance to the country’s fight for independence.

In 2019, SpaceX initiated the launching of Starlink satellites. As of December 2022, Starlink is comprised of more than 3,300 small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), which are connected with predetermined ground transceivers. An estimated 12,000 satellites are projected to be deployed, with the potential for an eventual increase to 42,000. In December 2022, SpaceX declared that they had attained over one million subscribers.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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