USAID Delivered 5,000 Starlink Terminals to Ukraine

Starlink Premium antenna. (Credit: SpaceX)

WASHINGTON (USAID PR) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has delivered 5,000 Starlink Terminals to the Government of Ukraine through a public-private partnership with the American aerospace manufacturer, SpaceX.

The Starlink satellite terminals will enable unlimited, unthrottled data connectivity from anywhere in Ukraine. The terminals will allow public officials and critical citizen service providers to continue to communicate within Ukraine and with the outside world, even if Putin’s brutal aggression severs Ukraine’s fiber optic or cellular communication infrastructure connections.

Since Putin’s unprovoked, further invasion of Ukraine on February 24, USAID has been working closely with humanitarian partners in Ukraine and in the region to reach Ukrainians with lifesaving humanitarian assistance while also ramping up development programs to respond to cyber attacks, disinformation, threats to the energy sector, essential health needs, and to support the continued functioning of local and national government entities.

For citizens who want to help get vital assistance to Ukrainians in need, there’s one thing to remember: cash is best. That’s because it’s efficient, flexible, and allows humanitarian organizations on the ground to buy what’s most needed, quickly. For more information on giving to reputable relief organizations, please click here:  https://www.cidi.org/disaster-responses/war-in-ukraine/

Editor’s Note: SpaceX has done a very good thing — and made a smart business move — in sending these terminals to Ukraine as the nation battles the Russian invasion. They didn’t have approval to operate there before the invasion. But, the story has changed in some odd ways since the first donation was announced.

SpaceX at first claimed to have received no government funding. The original version of the USAID press release said SpaceX had donated 3,667 terminals as well as free Internet service while the government purchased 1,333 terminals. The release also put the value of SpaceX’s donation at “roughly $10 million.” All those details were scrubbed from the subsequent release above. The Washington Post reports that the terminals the government bought were purchased at $1,500 apiece.

Journalist Joey Roulette later tweeted: “A USAID spox clarified the terminals were ‘made possible by a range of stakeholders, whose combined contributions valued over $15M and facilitated the procurement, international flights, on-the-ground transportation, and satellite Internet service of 5,000 Starlink terminals'”.

Again, it was a good move for Ukraine and SpaceX that this was done. But, it’s very hard to tell precisely how much of a donation made based on this conflicting information.