Ukraine’s connectivity to Starlink satellite Internet was cut off, suspected use of a secret weapon by Russia.

After information about the use of secret weapons by Russian Military, Elon Musk lost access to the Internet in Ukraine.

On the territory of Ukraine, access to Starlink satellite Internet has almost completely disappeared. This led to extremely serious losses for the Ukrainian army, which, among other things, is confirmed by the American media, however, which is very remarkable, the disruption of the Starlink satellite network was recorded literally the next day after Russian journalists reported the alleged use of secret weapons.

“According to its [Ukraine] officials and soldiers, the Ukrainian military is reporting malfunctions of its Starlink communications devices on the front lines, hindering offensive efforts. Some of the outages have resulted in “catastrophic” loss of communications in recent weeks, said one senior Ukrainian government official with direct knowledge of the problem. As a result, Russian forces were reported to have made significant advances in the offensive, the official said on condition of anonymity , according to the Financial Times.

A few days ago, Russian journalist Yuriy Kotenok reported that advanced weapons could be used, and literally the next day, serious interruptions in access to the Starlink Internet began to be observed on the territory of Ukraine. Nevertheless, at the moment there is no reliable information that laser weapon systems were actually used, which is actively discussed on the Web, however, which is quite remarkable, according to Starlink, access to Ukraine is indeed temporarily suspended, about as evidenced by the corresponding data on a special map, where Ukraine is indicated as a region with access to satellite Internet, however, when hovering over the region, there is no information about its availability.

Starlink has not commented on this yet.

About Elon Musk Starlink Internet Services

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, providing satellite Internet access coverage to 40 countries. It also aims for global mobile phone service after 2023. SpaceX started launching Starlink satellites in 2019. As of September 2022, Starlink consists of over 3,000 mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), which communicate with designated ground transceivers. In total, nearly 12,000 satellites are planned to be deployed, with a possible later extension to 42,000. Starlink provides internet access to over 500,000 subscribers as of June 2022.

The SpaceX satellite development facility in Redmond, Washington houses the Starlink research, development, manufacturing, and orbit control teams. The cost of the decade-long project to design, build, and deploy the constellation was estimated by SpaceX in May 2018 to be at least US$10 billion. SpaceX expects more than $30 billion in revenue by 2025 from its satellite constellation, while revenues from its launch business were expected to reach $5 billion in the same year.

Astronomers have raised concerns about the constellations’ effect on ground-based astronomy and how the satellites will add to an already congested orbital environment. SpaceX has attempted to mitigate astronomy concerns by implementing several upgrades to Starlink satellites aimed at reducing their brightness during operation. The satellites are equipped with krypton-fueled Hall thrusters which allow them to de-orbit at the end of their life. Additionally, the satellites are designed to autonomously avoid collisions based on uplinked tracking data.

Providing of Starlink satellites internet support to Ukraine

At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Ukraine experienced significant problems with Internet access. The problem was urgent for the military and other special government bodies. On February 26 2022, Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, asked Elon Musk on Twitter to provide assistance to Ukraine in the form of Starlink. Elon Musk reacted instantly by sending the first shipment to Ukraine, which arrived on February 28 2022. Ukraine was also immediately included in the Internet coverage system from the Starlink satellite network (as it was not in a list of accessible countries before).

Over time, the number of Starlink satellites donated by the Starlink company began to grow. The Ukrainian government bodies also started fundraising money to purchase more terminals (Starlink ground stations). In particular, already in June 2022, Ukraine received a new batch of satellites for Ukrainian intelligence units.

Satellite Internet from Starlink began was highly used on Azovstal by Ukrainian defenders, who managed to keep connection with Ukrainian armed forces, journalists and relatives in the besieged Mariupol. Starlink internet also started being used on the trains of Ukrainian Railways, during the restoration of communication in the liberated territories of Kyiv Oblast (in particular, Lifecell, Vodafone and Kyivstar used Starlink to provide mobile communication), etc.

In an interview to The Washington Post, Mykhailo Fedorov said that European countries have sent Starlink termianals to Ukraine from their own supplies.

The Times reported in March 2022, that Ukrainian military were using Starlink to connect its drones attacking Russian forces.

As of April 5, Starlink had delivered 5000 terminals to Ukraine, of which Starlink had donated 3667 or 73%, and the rest had been purchased by USAID.

Russian head of Roscosmos and politician Dmitry Rogozin in May 2022, said Elon Musk will be accountable “as an adult” because of providing of Armed Forces of Ukraine with Starlink satellites.

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