ELON Musk thinks Russia wouldn’t be able to destroy his network of Starlink space satellites.
The SpaceX probes circle overhead in a low Earth orbit, beaming internet down to the world.
Recently, Musk launched operations in Ukraine – in a bid to keep the nation online during the Russian invasion.
He shipped on-the-ground satellite receivers for Starlink to Ukrainians, allowing them to stay connected even if conventional internet sources went offline.
Billionaire Musk previously revealed fears that Russia could spy on Starlink communications.
But in a new interview, he said that he isn’t worried about Russia physically destroying Starlink satellites with missiles.
He told Business Insider that there are now too many Starlink satellites in the sky – and that SpaceX’s pace of launch is just too fast for the Kremlin’s war machine.
“If you attempt to take out Starlink, this is not easy – because there are 2,000 satellites,” Musk explained.
“That means a lot of anti-satellite missiles.
“I hope we do not have to put this to a test.
“But I think we can launch satellites faster than they can launch anti-satellite missiles.”
The billionaire donated a truck load of dishes to the war-torn country, which has seen its communications battered by Russian forces.
Mr Musk offered to help after receiving a desperate plea from Ukraine’s deputy prime minister.
Mykhailo Fedorov – who is also Ukraine’s Minister for Digital – said SpaceX Starlink has been a key part in keeping emergency services connected and saving lives.
But with some areas experiencing electricity blackouts, he warned that the country now needs generators to keep the dishes going.
Mr Musk responded saying he had updated the software to reduce peak power consumption, meaning Starlink can run from a car cigarette lighter.
He has also activated mobile roaming features, so moving vehicles can stay online too.
Speaking about the war in Ukraine, Musk admitted that he was shocked that it had even happened.
“It is surprising to see that in this day and age,” Musk explained.
“I thought we had sort of moved beyond such things for the most part. It is concerning.
“If you can get away with it, then this will be a message to other countries that perhaps they could get away with it too.”
He also admitted: “I do think that Putin is significantly richer than me.”
That’s despite having a mind-bogglingly high net worth of around $260billion.
Russia hasn’t signalled that it plans to attack the Starlink network with missiles.
But the war-waging nation has been tentatively linked to a “satellite sabotage” that took place just as the invasion of Ukraine began.
Vladimir Putin’s space chief recently said hacking satellites is “a reason to go to war”, amid reports hacker group Anonymous had shutdown Roscosmos.
Dmitry Rogozin denied that the agency was breached, but issued a chilling message to anyone who might attempt to do so.
“I want to warn everyone who tries to do it that it is essentially a crime, which should be toughly punished,” he told Russian media.
“Because disabling the satellite group of any country is generally a casus belli, that is, a reason to go to war.
“And we will be looking for those who organised it.
“We will send all necessary materials to the Federal Security Service, the Investigative Committee, and the Prosecutor General’s Office for relevant criminal cases to be opened.”
Musk’s SpaceX launched another 50 Starlink satellites into orbit just two weeks ago.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a satellite project launched by billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2015.
Musk intends to put 12,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit over next decade, possibly rising to 42,000 in future.
The “mega-constellation” will eventually be able to beam internet coverage to anywhere on the planet, according to SpaceX.
The California company says its network will provide users with high-speed, low-latency internet coverage.
Latency is the time it takes to send data from one point to the next.
Because Starlink sats are 60 times closer to Earth than most satellites, SpaceX’s WiFi latency is lower than traditional satellite internet.
The firm sends its satellites up in batches of 60 at a time and has deployed more than 1,400 into orbit since 2019.
They’re launched from Cape Carnaveral in Florida atop unmanned Falcon 9 rockets, which are also built by SpaceX.
The effect of the low-orbiting tech on views of the night sky is a major concern, as they appear brighter than many stars and planets.
Astronomers and amateur stargazers have repeatedly blasted SpaceX for ruining their observations.
The company argues that its satellites are only bright shortly after launch because they sit in a low orbit.
Over several weeks, the satellites move further from Earth, apparently dampening their effect on space observations.
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