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‘The Hell With It’: SpaceX CEO Musk reverses position on funding satellite Internet for Ukraine

Elon Musk. (Jerome Adamstein/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk now says that his company will continue to pay for the Starlink satellite Internet service for Ukraine, a day after suggesting SpaceX could no longer afford it.

“The hell with it,” Musk said on Twitter. “Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding ukraine govt for free.”

Musk activated Starlink, a network of more than 2,000 satellites orbiting the Earth and thousands of terminals on the ground, in late February after Internet services were disrupted because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Starlink has cost SpaceX $80 million thus far and the cost will exceed $100 million by end of year, Musk said on Twitter on October 7.

He told his more than 108 million Twitter followers on October 14 that SpaceX cannot fund the network “indefinitely” amid reports that he has asked the Pentagon to step in.

He issued the statement after CNN reported that SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon last month saying it could not continue to fund the Starlink service in Ukraine and that it may have to stop funding it unless the U.S. military gives the company tens of millions of dollars a month.

The Defense Department later confirmed that it received a request from Musk to take over funding for the satellite network. The official said the issue has been discussed in meetings and senior leaders are weighing the matter.