Tech billionaire Elon Musk announced that SpaceX has withdrawn its funding request to the Pentagon to begin footing the cost for satellite internet services Starlink for Ukraine.
Musk’s tweet followed an exclusive CNN report that SpaceX requested the Pentagon in September saying they were no longer able to donate the critical Starlink terminals or support the expensive accompanying service “for an indefinite period of time”.
SpaceX asked the Pentagon to start paying for the service for the current terminals operated by the Ukrainian government and fund almost 8,000 new terminals and services for Ukraine’s military and intelligence services, reports CNN.
After the report revealed the request and showed in greater detail that SpaceX is not solely responsible for Starlink access in Ukraine, Musk tweeted, “To hell with it… even though Starlink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we will just keep funding the Ukraine govt for free”.
Musk’s tweet, this week, went a bit further, saying the step had been taken to rescind the request to the Defense Department, the report said.
Two sources briefed on the discussions between SpaceX and the Pentagon said that as of Friday, before Musk’s apparent about-face, the Pentagon had, in fact agreed to the request from SpaceX to pay for ongoing service for Ukraine’s government and the new request from Ukraine’s commanding general.
That funding request was for $124 million for the remainder of 2022. It’s unclear what the final amount or terms agreed to be.