In a bold move, Elon Musk has taken a stand defending SpaceX’s controversial decision to limit Ukraine’s access to the Starlink satellite internet system for drone strikes against Russia, citing concerns over escalating the ongoing conflict. According to Musk, Starlink plays a critical role as the primary communication backbone in Ukraine, particularly in the frontlines where another internet connectivity has been completely destroyed. While SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell acknowledged that Starlink’s battlefield uses were not intended for weaponization, she emphasized Ukraine was fighting for its survival.
Despite this, former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was quick to criticize Musk’s decision on Twitter, urging him to restore the full functionality of Starlink to prevent the loss of innocent lives. Musk responded to Kelly’s tweet, stating that SpaceX’s commercial terminals were only meant for private use and not military purposes.
The matter of weaponizing Starlink raises ethical concerns, particularly since the US and European allies have invested millions in bringing the satellite internet system to Ukraine. While one Ukrainian government official has publicly called on SpaceX to lift the restrictions, Russia has made veiled threats to attack Starlink because of its use in Ukraine.
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As SpaceX prepares to test its next-generation Starlink dishes, Iridium is stepping up with its ‘Go Exec’ portable satellite internet device to compete with the company. Meanwhile, SpaceX has delayed imposing high-speed data caps for Starlink, showing its commitment to offering the best possible service to its users.