Fri. Sep 29th, 2023
SpaceX’s Relationship with the US Military in Question after Musk’s Refusal to Aid Ukraine

SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s decision to deny Ukraine access to Starlink internet services for a surprise attack on Russian forces has raised concerns about the company’s relationship with the US military, according to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. A new biography of Musk revealed that Ukraine had requested Starlink support to target Russian naval vessels in Crimea, but Musk declined due to fears of a nuclear response from Russia. The fallout from this disclosure has led Senator Elizabeth Warren to call for an investigation into SpaceX. She argues that the government, not a billionaire, should be responsible for shaping foreign policy. Musk, who is expected to attend a closed-door summit with senators, was not under a military contract when he rejected Ukraine’s request. However, the US military has since officially contracted with Starlink for continued support. The terms and cost of that contract have not been disclosed. The incident has prompted military planners to reconsider the reliance on commercial systems in future agreements. Kendall emphasized the need for assurances that commercial systems will be available for operational use during wartime. SpaceX also has a contract with the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command to develop a rocket ship for faster military cargo transportation. The increased investment in space by the US military has raised questions about liability and the need for language in contracts regarding the use of military support in combat situations.