With his Starlink satellite network, Elon Musk is maintaining Ukraine’s digital infrastructure during the war. This has far-reaching consequences. And generates great interest around the world.

If the Internet were to be taken away from our thoroughly digitized society in one fell swoop, the consequences would be hard to foresee. In the Ukraine war, the Internet proved to be even more essential. This is thanks to the success of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network. It surprised even the experts.

The first reports came shortly after the Russian attack in February. On the second day of the war, the call for help came: “While you want to colonize Mars, Russia is trying to conquer Ukraine,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted directly to Starlink boss Elon Musk. “We ask you to send us Starlink stations so that we can reach the sensible Russians.” Then everything happened in record time. Only two days later the first stations arrived in the country. And changed the course of the war.

vital system

This is the result of detailed research by the magazine “Politico”. Musk’s satellite system and the now almost 11,000 receiving stations in Ukraine form the framework without which the country’s defense, which has been surprisingly successful up to now, but also civil communication would not have been possible, numerous fighters and civilians on site reported to the magazine. The 50 satellites in low orbit over the country not only control attacks, transport information for the fighters and communicate the atrocities committed by the Russian soldiers. Families and friends can also let each other know that they are okay, the status of the fighting is always known even in otherwise isolated areas. This helps Ukrainians maintain some normalcy, they report.

But it is probably even more important that the Ukrainian government can remain present. Although Russia had already attempted to cut off Internet connections and thus communication with the outside world, the president and his troops always remained in the public eye. Zelenskyy, his government and the troops were able to keep in touch with the outside world at all times via video speeches and telephone calls – and thus successfully prevented the Russian portrayal of a supposedly successful attack from being quickly reduced to absurdity. The willingness of the Ukrainians not to give up would certainly not have been nearly as great without this visibility. “The strategic effect destroyed Putin’s propaganda campaign,” the head of the Pentagon’s defense innovation department told Politico.

The military around the world are watching spellbound

The fact that military leaders around the world are now showing great interest in Starlink’s success is probably due to two main factors: First, there is the impressive speed with which Musk’s company made the network and the associated equipment available. On the other hand, the unexpectedly robust resilience of the network against Russian cyber attacks.

The fact that Starlink was on site so quickly is also due to the fact that Selenskyj and Musk had already talked beforehand. At the beginning of the year, Ukraine explored the possibility of using Starlink to protect itself from being isolated from the Internet by Russian hackers. When the time came, the plans ultimately only had to be implemented. However, observers emphasize that this was still happening at an impressive pace.

But resilience is at least as important to the military. It is based on two decisions by Starlink. Unlike traditionally relying on individual satellites in high orbit, the company’s satellites are in lower orbit and implement the data streams as a network. As a result, it is not enough to disable a satellite; the entire network would have to be paralyzed at once. This is made more difficult by the second decision: Because Starlink keeps rewriting the programs on its satellites, it is made difficult for attackers to discover and exploit security gaps. “It’s an impressive example of how a secure emergency communications system becomes a lifeline in modern conflict,” says Texas professor Todd E. Humphreys.

For Elon Musk, the extensive technology donation to Ukraine should therefore pay off in the future.

Those: Politician