Although SpaceX implying that the United States did not give money to send Starlink terminals to Ukraine in March, a report washington post reveals that the government actually paid millions of dollars for equipment and transportation. The report found that the US Agency for International Development, or USAID, paid $1,500 each for 1,333 handsets, totaling about $2 million. USAID revealed the number of terminals it bought from the company in a Press release since the beginning of April since it has been altered to remove mentions of the purchase.
According space reporter Joey RouletteSpaceX donated 3,667 terminals to Ukraine, or about $10 million, after taking into account the three months of data it provided with the terminals. However, this donation may have been partially subsidized by the purchase of $1,500 per unit from USAID. washington post says it’s unclear whether Ukraine received standard terminals, for which SpaceX currently charges $600, or the advanced terminals, which were announced in February and it costs $2,500.
It appears that USAID edited their press release and removed the value of SpaceX’s donation, as well as the number of terminals that the agency said SpaceX provided with its own money. Here is the old version vs. the current version: https://t.co/ws1urZu4VM pic.twitter.com/1eZxfQ6DPA
— Joey Roulette (@joroulette) April 6, 2022
If USAID bought regular terminals, it paid $900 above the retail cost per unit (which adds up to about $1.2 million), notably, a recent report said that the terminals cost SpaceX about $1,000 to build. USAID may also have been paying for internet service, which costs $110 a month for Starlink’s standard plan and $500 a month for its premium plan available with more expensive terminals.
washington post It also reports that USAID has agreed to pay more than $800,000 for the transportation of the 5,000 terminals that were shipped to Ukraine through what the agency now calls a “public-private partnership.”
In February, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister published pictures of a truck full of what appeared to be standard Starlink terminals, days after he tweeted SpaceX CEO Elon Musk asking for help. It is not clear if these terminals were sent solely by SpaceX, although washington postThe yes report notes that USAID had previously purchased 175 Starlink terminals as part of a separate deal.
It appears that SpaceX made a significant charitable donation to Ukraine. USAID told the Mail in a statement that “the delivery of Starlink terminals was made possible by a variety of stakeholders, whose combined contributions were valued at more than $15 million,” and its original press release said that SpaceX donated $10 million worth of in-service equipment. But, as with many other SpaceX projectsthe company appears to have secured a significant amount of public funding for the project.