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The Starlink terminals that SpaceX founder Elon Musk sent to Ukraine have reportedly given them an advantage in winning the drone war against the invading Russian military.
“Aerorozvidka (Aerial Reconnaissance) is being used to attack Russian drones and target Vladmir Putin’s army of tanks and track down their positions in the conflict, which has been ongoing since February 24,” the Daily Mail reported. “Drones used in the field are able to use the newly available Starlink to keep connected and provide intelligence as internet and power outages plague Ukraine. With the technology, the drones can be directed to drop anti-tank munitions to help ward off the Russian attack.”
Musk said earlier this month that SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service was now available in Ukraine with more terminals en route to the country, a remark that came in response to a request on Twitter from Mykhailo Fedorov, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, who tweeted: “@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine,” Musk responded. “More terminals en route.”
“Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis,” the company says. “Using advanced satellites in a low orbit, Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet.”
“Starlink is ideally suited for areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable,” the company added. “People across the globe are using Starlink to gain access to education, health services and even communications support during natural disasters.”
Musk later issued a warning that those using SpaceX’s Starlink terminals in Ukraine were at a high risk of being targeted by the Russians because those are some of the only remaining systems on the ground that work.
“Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high,” Musk tweeted. “Please use with caution.”
When later asked about how users should use the system with caution, Musk responded, “Turn on Starlink only when needed and place antenna away as far away from people as possible.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky later praised Musk in a tweet, writing: “Talked to @elonmusk. I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds. Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities. Discussed possible space projects. But I’ll talk about this after the war.”