The potential of SpaceX to deliver internet connection in war-torn areas of Ukraine has pleased the US Space Command, according to the command’s commander, who testified before Congress on March 8.
During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. James Dickinson, commander of US Space Command, said, “What we’re seeing with Elon Musk and the Starlink capabilities is really showing us what a megaconstellation or a proliferated architecture can provide in terms of redundancy and capability.”
Dickinson was responding to a question from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who said Starlink’s capacity to deliver communications from space over Ukraine is “good news” and an example of “commercial players in space entering disputed settings.”
“Russia has been attempting to jam the signals and block coverage, which has made me curious,” Kaine remarked. He inquired of Dickinson about the existence of a “legal framework” for commercial space enterprises in the United States that become involved in contentious circumstances.
“We’ll take a look at it, senator,” Dickinson responded. “We work very closely on that issue in our commercial integration cell.”
At Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, the commercial integration cell, or CIC, is a group of ten commercial satellite operators who collaborate with US Space Command. Given the military’s reliance on commercial space services, the CIC was founded by the US Strategic Command to share intelligence regarding dangers in space and other topics of concern.
Intelsat, SES Government Solutions, Inmarsat, Eutelsat, Maxar, Viasat, XTAR, SpaceX, Iridium Communications, and Hughes Network Systems are among the members of the CIC.
Starlink is the world’s largest commercial satellite network, with almost 2,000 satellites in low Earth orbit. SpaceX has been given authorization to launch 12,000 satellites and is requesting permission to launch another 30,000.
Before a government minister tweeted a request to Elon Musk, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell claimed on March 7 that the business has been working for weeks to get approval for Starlink services in Ukraine.