By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Entrepreneur Elon Musk announced Saturday that his company SpaceX’s satellite broadband service, Starlink, has been activated in Ukraine, after the Internet was disrupted in the country due to Russia’s invasion.
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk wrote on Twitter in response to Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov.
“Elon Musk, while you try to colonize Mars—Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space—Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people!” Fedorov had written to the SpaceX billionaire.
Internet monitors said Saturday that connectivity in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine were particularly affected by the Russian invasion.
Starlink is a space-based system that SpaceX has been building for years to bring high-speed broadband Internet to underserved areas of the world, such as rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. It can also serve as a backup if natural disasters affect communication.
SpaceX has almost 2,000 Starlink satellites orbiting the earth at an altitude of 340 miles (550 kilometers). The company hopes to have 4,425 Starlink satellites in orbit by 2024.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.