Thursday, December 1, 2022

Elon Musk says SpaceX will keep funding Starlink in Ukraine despite losing money

Elon Musk says SpaceX will keep funding Starlink in Ukraine despite losing money

CALIFORNIA (Reuters) - Elon Musk said on Saturday his rocket company SpaceX would continue to fund its Starlink internet service in Ukraine, citing the need for "good deeds," a day after he said it could no longer afford to do so.

Musk's comment on Twitter came after a media report that SpaceX had asked the Pentagon to pay for the donations of Starlink. The billionaire has been in online fights with Ukrainian officials over a peace plan he put forward which Ukraine says is too generous to Russia.

A senior defense official told reporters on Friday that the US Department of Defense would not confirm that ongoing talks with the company were related to payment, but said the Pentagon was "continuing to talk to SpaceX and other companies about SATCOM capabilities."

The Starlink communications platform has been very "exceptionally effective on the battlefield" allowing Ukrainians to support multiple device connections in the combat environment, a senior US military official said.

The billionaire who runs Tesla said Starlink says he spends nearly $20 million a month for maintaining satellite services in Ukraine. He recently said that SpaceX had spent about $80 million to enable and support Starlink there.

"SpaceX is not asking to recoup past expenses, but also cannot fund the existing system indefinitely *and* send several thousand more terminals that have data usage up to 100X greater than typical households. This is unreasonable," Musk wrote on Twitter on Friday.