Musk Asks Pentagon to Fund Ukraine's Starlink

Photo: CNN

The Facts

  • Elon Musk's SpaceX has said it can no longer pay for Starlink in Ukraine, which has become a critical satellite service for the country as they continue to fight against Russia, and has requested that the US Dept. of Defense take over funding the service.

  • SpaceX reportedly sent a letter to the Pentagon saying that to continue operations, the company requires tens of millions of dollars in monthly support. The letter argues that the financial stress of repeatedly replacing destroyed units was not feasible for the company.

The Spin

Narrative A

It's absurd that Elon Musk, who is not an elected official, has so much power over critical technology, like the ability to provide satellite internet to Ukraine. SpaceX has a "heroic" reputation even though many of its services are funded by outside entities. Musk needs to take a step back, take cues from governments who contract with SpaceX, and stop commenting on peace-making efforts if these services are being used for the public good.

Narrative B

Freedom isn't free, so why should a private space firm support Ukraine's satellite internet for free? SpaceX is spending about $20M per month on Ukraine’s Starlink satellite internet service - it's reasonable for the Pentagon to put more skin in the game to further national security goals. Musk has done an amazing job of filling a void with private innovation.

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