Elon Musk’s latest invention — Starlink — has the potential to change the course of the war for Ukraine. If they manage to successfully implement it, the device will provide a low-cost way for people to connect to the internet and access global services.
This internet technology could have a major impact on the country’s war-ridden economy and its citizens’ lives. Here’s what you need to know about Starlink and its potential implications for Ukraine.
How did it all start?
We all know what’s going on in Eastern Europe, where Ukraine is being invaded and constantly bombarded by Russia. The war broke out on Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine.
When there’s a war, most resources and utilities are cut off, including electricity, water, gas, internet, etc. Although the situation has not escalated to this level — and hopefully it won’t — some cities of Ukraine (Kherson and Kharkiv) experienced internet outages.
In today’s day and age, the internet is no more a luxury. It’s a necessity, especially a need to communicate. So to ensure the affected areas have a continuous supply of internet, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, asked Elon Musk to send help in a tweet.
Soon after that, the billionaire responded positively and sent a truckload of satellite dishes by Starlink. He also turned on the space internet service of Starlink in Ukraine to ensure they have unhindered internet availability.
Starlink is a project by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space exploration company, to launch a giant network of small satellites into the earth’s lower orbit. Since it will be closer to the land, the internet speed will be faster with minimal delays, even in the most cut-off, remote areas of the world.
The current internet satellites are stationed roughly 36,000 kilometers (22,369 miles) from the earth’s surface. In contrast, Starlink’s LEO satellites (low-Earth orbit) will be placed somewhere between 500 and 2,000 km (311 to 1,243 miles).
To receive connectivity from these satellites, there need to be satellite dishes as recipients that then send it to your router, which distributes the connectivity to your devices. Starlink dishes are those recipients that Elon sent to Ukraine.
How can Starlink help Ukraine?
There are various ways Starlink can help the people and government of Ukraine. The internet is the most powerful communication tool of today. Here are a few ways Starlink dishes can help the country and people most affected by the invasion:
1. Allow people to communicate with the world.
Outsiders are not fully aware of what’s going on in the streets of Ukraine. We are only seeing what the media shows us. We all know how effortlessly the media can manipulate the news.
However, if we see social media posts and videos from those present in the critical zones, we’ll know what’s actually going on. This will help in the following ways.
- More people will get the motivation to send donations to help affectees and refugees.
- There will be higher pressure from the world on Russia to stop the attacks.
These things can ultimately help along with measures taken by other countries trying to end the conflict.
2. Allow families to communicate with each other.
Many families lose touch while fleeing the conflict zones. Many go out to get some help but get stuck due to ongoing attacks.
How will these people communicate with each other and let their loved ones know their location and that they are safe?
Since Russian forces jam communication channels, Starlink’s internet is their source to stay connected and effectively communicate with each other.
3. Help the military counter cyberattacks.
Military forces don’t just operate on land, air, and sea. There are military units that deal with the internet.
Countries try to attack their enemy countries’ assets that run on technology such as nuclear plants, dams, reservoirs, etc.
To ensure they are unsuccessful in these cyberattacks, this tech-savvy military unit uses the internet to counter their hacking attempts.
So with Starlink’s uninterrupted supply of internet, the Ukrainian military forces can better defend their bases, communicate faster and stop hacking attempts.
Undoubtedly, Starlink is a game-changer for the war in Ukraine.
It has the potential to help people stay connected with the world, allow families to communicate with each other, and help the military counter cyberattacks.
All of these benefits could make a massive difference for the people of Ukraine and could potentially save lives.