WASHINGTON – SpaceX has sent “thousands” of Starlink satellite internet kits to Ukraine, company President Gwynne Shotwell told CNBC on Tuesday.
Elon Musk’s space company began sending Ukraine shipments of Starlink satellite kits – which come with an antenna, a mounting tripod and a Wi-Fi router – shortly after Russia invaded. Ukrainians can use the Starlink kits to connect directly to SpaceX’s network in orbit, with the company having launched about 2,000 satellites to date.
“I’m proud that we were able to provide the terminals to folks in Ukraine. It’s been enormously helpful, I think, to ensure people are still communicating,” Shotwell said during a panel at the Satellite 2022 conference in Washington, D.C.
Musk had Starlink terminals sent to Ukraine after Ukrainian official Mykhailo Fedorov asked the CEO for help while Russia’s attacks were disrupting internet service in the country.
Shotwell, who spoke to CNBC after the panel, did not have a more specific total on the number of dishes the company has shipped to Ukraine. She added that most of the funding for the Starlink kits has come from private sources, but added that “France helped” and “I think Poland is helping.”
“I don’t think the U.S. has given us any money to give terminals to the Ukraine,” Shotwell said.
The French and Polish embassies in the U.S. did not immediately respond to CNBC requests for comment.