Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites have been helping Ukraine’s drone unit push back against Russian forces, as the space industry acts as a core string in Europe bow to diffuse Russia.
A specialist air reconnaissance unit within the army, known as Aerorozvidka, has been picking off Russian tanks, command trucks and vehicles carrying electronic equipment since the invasion began, The Times first reported, using Starlink’s satellite connection – which cannot be blocked by Russia.
“A growing industrial space sector can solve problems that governments can’t solve,” chairman of London-listed space capital firm Seraphim, Will Whitehorn, told City A.M. today.
With state-run space agencies reluctant to get involved in Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, the private-sector space industry has seemingly stepped up to the plate.
Billionaire technology entrepreneur Musk has sent at least four shipments of Starlink satellites to Ukraine since its invasion in late February, with the latest arriving on Friday.
“Frankly, you’d never be able to stop the operating by trying to shoot them down… there’s too many of them,” explained Whitehorn, adding there is now “no hiding place for the Russians… because they can be seen at night and through clouds with the new generation of satellites.”
As Russian president Vladimir Putin continues to give the go-ahead to devastate Ukrainian cities, the wider implications of the war being spearheaded by Europe’s largest energy producer are beginning to be felt in far-flung pockets.
“It’s not just about an aggressive war being fought in Ukraine…it’s the fact that energy has been used as a weapon by Russia,” added Whitehorn. “We cannot allow ourselves anymore to be blackmailed by energy producers.”
The “practical nature” of new innovations such as solar farms in space and Lockheed Martin’s ambitious lunar power plant are increasingly more apparent to investors and governments, with the current energy crisis expected to push the pedal on their development.
The process has “absolutely been sped up” by the events of the past few weeks, Whitehorn continued, as Europe seeks to outsource its energy requirements and meet Earth’s net zero obligations.