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Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) chief Mr. Elon Musk has revealed that his company is preparing for defense against cyberattacks and signal jamming. SpaceX operates its Starlink satellite internet constellation throughout the globe, and Musk came into the spotlight last week when he announced that his company would ship Starlink user terminals to the conflict region of Ukraine in response to a request from the country's vice prime minister. Since then, the terminals have made their way into Ukraine, and Starlink is providing internet connectivity to emergency services and others who might need it. Musk outlined that Starlink has also been requested by governments to block Russian state-sponsored media outlets and declined to do so.
Starlink Preparing To Counter Cyber Threats Outlines Musk - Will 'Slightly' Affect Second Generation Satellite Launches And Starship
Musk's comments were made on the social media platform twitter just moments back when he shared two tweets that described new measures SpaceX is taking in response to the rapidly changing environment in Ukraine. These will slightly delay Starlink's plans to launch second-generation satellites, which have been a bone of contention for several rivals, and develop its STarship launch vehicle system.
The executive's first tweet stated that:
SpaceX reprioritized to cyber defense & overcoming signal jamming.
Will cause slight delays in Starship & Starlink V2.
This comment comes after several commentators had speculated whether Starlink was putting itself into harm's way by providing Internet connectivity in Ukraine. According to Musk's own words, the user dishes his company has shipped to Ukraine are vulnerable to cyberattacks particularly since they are the only ones that are providing connectivity in some regions of the country. He also admitted that the dishes are vulnerable to cyberattacks, since Starlink's rival Viasat saw its equipment "rendered permanently useless" in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion.
His second tweet shared that several governments, excluding Ukrainian officials, have also asked Starlink to block access to Russian news sources. Despite aiding the Ukrainians in their time of need, Musk has remained firm on this front and stated that he will not comply with these instructions, citing the obstruction to free speech that they entail.
According to him:
Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources. We will not do so unless at gunpoint.
Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.
In response to users on Twitter pointing out that Russian media outlets are propaganda, Musk replied that he believes all news sources carry propaganda to an extent, and some do so more than others.
Today's announcement comes after Starlink and Musk made the Russian space agency chief Mr. Dimitry Rogozin furious due to their decision to help Ukraine. Mr. Rogozin, in a statement given to a Russian state-sponsored media outlet, stated that he was disappointed in Musk and Starlink taking sides in a conflict that is being described as the largest invasion in European history since World War 2.
In response, Musk took the comments in good stride and retorted that perhaps it was poor weather conditions that had made his company ship the terminals to Ukraine.
Starlink has stepped up its satellite launch cadence this year and is on track to launch a new mission every week. So far, SpaceX has launched nine rockets this year, as it continues to develop its Starship rocket in Boca Chica, Texas - where its facilities are currently undergoing an environmental assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
For more on Starlink and Ukraine, take a look at: