After months of arguing with Russian space officials online after helping Ukraine with internet access, the billionaire is now facing the fury of the Chinese military over his Starlink satellites. The official newspaper for China’s military warned that the international should remain on “high alert” over the rapid expansions of the Starlink satellite constellation.
Starlink is a constellation of satellites created by SpaceX, with the aim of launching satellite internet coverage that will one day span the entire globe.
In 2021 the number of satellites launched by SpaceX reached more than 2,000, which will communicate with ground-based transceivers.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world’s richest man has activated the satellites above Ukraine to grant Kyiv internet access as Russia attempts to block off all communication.
An article on China Military Online, the official news website affiliated with the Central Military Commission (CMC) said: “SpaceX has decided to increase the number of Starlink satellites from 12,000 to 42,000 – the program’s unchecked expansion and the company’s ambition to use it for military purposes should put the international community on high alert.”
While Starlink’s primary purpose has been to provide internet access anywhere in the world, the satellites have been used for some military operations in the past few months in Ukriane.
Aerorozvidka, a specialist air-reconnaissance unit within the Ukrainian army has noted that they used Starlink satellites to power its attacks on sleeping Russian tank operators.
An air specialist from the military unit revealed that the Ukrainian forces have been connecting to Mr Musk’s satellite network to allow their technology to lock onto enemy targets.
He said: “If we use a drone with thermal vision at night, the drone must connect through Starlink to the artillery guy and create target acquisition.”