While the threat widely applies to a lot of companies, Elon Musk’s SpaceX could be targeted specifically as the billionaire has openly criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia earlier put the West on code red by deploying an anti-satellite missile to destroy one of its own satellites in an event called anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test. It brought thousands of pieces of space debris flying toward the International Space Station.
Konstantin Vorontsov, a member of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that space was becoming a “launching pad for aggression and war” during a meeting of the United Nations’ open-ended working group (OEWG) on decreasing space threats.
“We would like to underline an extremely dangerous trend that goes beyond the harmless use of outer space technologies and has become apparent during the events in Ukraine. Namely, the use by the United States and its allies of the elements of civilian, including commercial, infrastructure in outer space for military purposes. It seems like our colleagues do not realize that such actions in fact constitute indirect involvement in military conflicts. Quasi-civilian infrastructure may become a legitimate target for retaliation,” Vorontsov said in a statement.
“Actions of the Western countries, needlessly put at risk the sustainability of peaceful space activities, as well as numerous social and economic processes on Earth that affect the well-being of people, in particular in developing countries. At the very least this provocative use of civilian satellites is questionable under the Outer Space Treaty, which provides for the exclusive, peaceful use of outer space and must be strongly condemned by the international community.”
Starlink satellites help control drones that fight Russian forces
Of all the Western corporations helping Ukraine, Musk and his Starlink satellites have angered the Russians most over the previous year because the SpaceX CEO has delivered more than 10,000 dish antennas to Ukraine since the start of war. (Related: Lost in space: Solar storm destroys 38 Starlink satellites, costing Elon Musk’s company tens of millions in losses.)
These satellites are helping to control drones utilized to fight the invading Russian forces. And it is very clear that Musk’s Starlink has become a significant part of Ukraine’s command, control and communication systems.
Interestingly, Starlink satellites are much cheaper than the Russian missiles that would be used to destroy them. But Russia could also use an electromagnetic pulse against Starlink satellites to disrupt their signal.
Last March, Musk issued a warning on Twitter: “Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so the probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution.”
Commercial satellite imagery corporations, such as Planet Labs, Maxar and BlackSky, have also contributed in the war effort against Russia by giving intelligence pictures of the battle from above.
As an example, images by Planet Labs in early August displayed a Ukrainian attack on a Russian military base in Crimea, which created more damage than Russia had implied in public reports.
Follow NationalSecurity.news for more about Russia’s threat to destroy Starlink satellites.
Watch the video below to learn why Russia declared a “Space War” on Elon Musk and Starlink after the Moskva attack.
More related stories: