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Elon Musk’s Starlink Is at the Forefront of a Corporatized Space War in Ukraine

Earth’s orbit is now the domain of companies, not just countries, and that’s changing the nature of warfare.

A Maxar high-resolution satellite shows a close-up view of a Russian military convoy northeast of Ivankiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 27.

A Maxar high-resolution satellite shows a close-up view of a Russian military convoy northeast of Ivankiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 27.

Photo: Maxar/Getty Images

Over the past couple of years, Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has just about doubled the total number of satellites in orbit around Earth. It now has as many functioning satellites as all other nations and companies, combined. And they’re raising a lot of very important questions.

SpaceX’s satellites are part of its Starlink network, which beams down high-speed internet service to antennas on Earth. The company’s original purpose was to connect the 3.5 billion or so people who don’t have access to fiber-optic service, catering as well to those who want to watch Netflix and chill at their second home or on their yacht.