SpaceX restricts military functionality to Starlink service in Ukraine

Photo captions
People use their phones next to a Starlink transceiver. Photo: AFP

According to TV channel RT, company president Gwynne Shotwell said that SpaceX has cut down the ability of the Ukrainian military to use Internet services to control unmanned aircraft (UAV) during the conflict with Russia.

“SpaceX is really willing to provide connectivity to Ukraine but this technology should never be allowed to become a weapon,” Ms. Shotwell said at the 25th annual FAA Commercial Space Transport Conference in Washington. 8/2.

“Ukraine used Starlink for purposes not covered by any agreement. So, you know, we have to discuss the function of Starlink again,” the female leader shared, adding that Kiev’s forces were dependent on Starlink to control drones in surveillance operations. attack and kill.

“We can do a few things to limit their ability to use that. We have been taking a number of measures,” the chairwoman said, without specifying what those restrictive measures were.

Ms. Shotwell emphasized the agreement that SpaceX has with the Ukrainian government to provide satellite services for purely humanitarian purposes, such as providing internet to hospitals, banks and families affected by the virus. hostilities.

“We know the military is using them for communication and that’s okay. But our intention is to never let them use it for offensive purposes,” Shotwell expressed concern.

When asked if the company had foreseen that this technology could be abused by Kiev before providing it, the female leader admitted: “We didn’t think about it. But we also realized quickly.”

SpaceX donated $80 million worth of Starlink transceivers to Ukraine when the conflict began in February last year.

Ms. Shotwell said she could not confirm the unexplained outage of satellite service in Ukraine late last year was the result of the company’s efforts to limit its use. for attack purposes or not.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk once warned that Russia constantly wants to disable Starlink and SpaceX is forced to provide a lot of resources to protect the service from interruption and continue to operate.

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