Pentagon, Ukraine and SpaceX collaborate against Russia

Pentagon, Ukraine and SpaceX collaborate against Russia

Pentagon collaborates with SpaceX and Ukraine to prevent Russian exploitation of Starlink terminals, strengthening communications security.

Collaboration to secure Starlink

The Pentagon is teaming up with private space giant SpaceX and the Ukrainian government to counter Russian forces’ use of the company’s satellite communications terminals, as part of Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. John Plumb, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, emphasized the commercial availability of products such as SpaceX’s Starlink constellation and the need to understand and integrate the risk of exploitation by adversary entities. He also acknowledged Starlink’s efficiency, which explains its appeal.

The Starlink exploitation dilemma

Reports have revealed that Russian forces have successfully captured or acquired Starlink terminals, which provide communications and other command and control functions through a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites. Despite requests to SpaceX to intervene, several of these terminals remain active. John Plumb expressed concern about Russia’s use of these terminals without licenses and without the approval of the invaded countries.

Pentagon, Ukraine and SpaceX collaborate against Russia

SpaceX, a key partner for the Pentagon

The situation highlights the dilemma for players like the Pentagon, which rely heavily on advanced commercial technologies for space services. SpaceX, headed by entrepreneur Elon Musk, is a key player in space launch with rockets like the Falcon 9 and in satellite communication services via Starlink. SpaceX’s Starshield branch, tailored to government needs, is contracted with the Pentagon and seen as a key capability for military users.

Future implications and challenges

The collaboration between the Pentagon, SpaceX and Ukraine raises questions about regulating and securing commercial space technologies in the context of conflict. While SpaceX is seen as a valuable partner, the need to prevent the exploitation of technologies like Starlink by adversary entities is a complex challenge, requiring close cooperation between the public and private sectors.

This trilateral collaboration aims to strengthen communications security in a tense geopolitical context, while navigating the complex landscape of commercial space technology and its implications for national and international security.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.