Elon Musk has backed down again. Just on Friday, the tycoon said that SpaceX could not continue financing Stalink’s operation in Ukraine, where he has become a key player in maintaining internet access. However, today Musk, through Twitter —his second home—, assured that SpaceX will continue to invest from its coffers so that Starlink continues to operate in the conflict zone. She did, yes, with controversial words.
Elon Musk took advantage of his speech to throw a dart at companies that benefit from taxes while SpaceX, despite losing money with Starlink, is determined to support the Ukrainians. “To hell with this. Even though Starlink is still losing money and other companies are making billions of dollars from taxpayers, we will continue to finance the government of Ukraine for free“, he mentioned.
With this statement, then, it is clear that Elon Musk and Starlink do not plan to withdraw from Ukraine. The question that now remains in the air is: How long will they be able to maintain the operation?
The question arises because Elon Musk himself, in an alarming tone, had commented that SpaceX could not assume the expenses permanently. “SpaceX does not ask to recover past expenses, but neither can it finance the existing system indefinitely and send several thousand more terminals that have a data use up to 100 times greater than that of any home. This is not reasonable,” said the manager in Twitter.
This problem is made even greater because SpaceX is not going through a completely stable financial situation. “SpaceX faces terribly difficult decisions here. I do not believe that I have the financial capacity to provide additional antennas or servicesElon Musk replied to Valerii Zaluzhnyi, leader of the Ukrainian army. The also general had allegedly requested the shipment of 8,000 additional antennas.
Elon Musk and SpaceX turn to the Pentagon
At first, Elon Musk and SpaceX saw no alternative but to turn to the United States government, specifically the Department of Defense, to contribute money to the Starlink operation. The Pentagon confirmed receipt of a letter with the request, and claimed to stay in contact with SpaceX on this “and other issues”. However, given Musk’s reaction today, it seems that they have not obtained the required support, at least for now.
Interestingly, Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s press officer, revealed that the agency is studying the option of use other technologies for Ukraine to stay connected. Of course, he did not want to delve into them. “There are certainly other satellite communications capabilities that exist out there. I’m not going to show our advantage right now on exactly what they are or who we’re talking to.”
His words make us think that The United States government is already considering alternatives to Starlink; For this reason, they have not shown a willingness to support their operation. The matter becomes more tense, and to some extent ridiculous, because an issue of such relevance to Ukraine is managed, in part, through Twitter. However, the social network could well be considered as the second – or first – office of Elon Musk.