Russia may fine citizens who use SpaceX’s Starlink internet service

The Falcon 9 rocket will launch five dozen Starlink satellites on August 18, 2020.
Zoom in / The Falcon 9 rocket will launch five dozen Starlink satellites on August 18, 2020.


Russia’s legislature, the State Duma, is considering penalties for individuals and companies in the country that use Western-based satellite Internet services. The proposed law seeks to prevent access to the Internet by SpaceX’s Starlink service, OneWeb, or other Russian satellite constellations under development.

According to a recent report in the Russian version of Popular Popular Mechanics, the proposed fines for legal entities using the West range from 10,000 to 30,000 rubles ($ 135- $ 405) and from 500,000 to 1 million rubles (6,750 to 13,500) for satellite services.

In a Russian-language article translated for Ars by Robinson Mitchell, members of the Duma insisted that independent access to the Internet would bypass the country’s Operation Professional Search Measures, which monitors Internet usage and mobile communications. As part of the country’s tight control over media and communications, all Russian Internet traffic must pass through a Russian communications provider.

Not surprisingly, Russia will take steps to disrupt the Starlink service – the country’s space chief Dmitry Rogozin sees SpaceX as a major competitor in spaceflight.

NASA and the U.S. have agreed to subsidize SpaceX through an agreement with the Rogozin government. The Department of Defense criticizes both. (While it’s true that SpaceX has received billions of dollars worth of launch contracts from the U.S. government, it has also provided launch services at a significant discount compared to other providers.) More with uninterrupted communication. Special forces.

Starlink, Rogozin said last August Gust, is part of the USA’s hunter-gatherer, clever, powerful, high-tech policy, which uses mourning and intimidation to advance its military interests. Rogozin also claims SpaceX’s claim that Starlink is designed to provide Internet service to one percent of the Earth’s surface, on which the terrestrial Internet is not “nonsense.”

The ban on OneWeb is even more interesting, as the company is using Russian Soyuz rockets to launch almost all of its initial constellations into orbit. Monthly OneWeb satellites are planned to be launched this year, mainly from spaceports in Baikonur, Kazakhstan and Vostochny in Russia. OneWeb is effectively helping to propel a struggling Russian launch industry at a time when SpaceX will drop the country on a commercial launch agreement.

Not to be outdone by Western competitors, Russia is planning its own satellite Internet constellation, known as the “Round”. However there are questions about the affordability of this constellation, which could start in 2024. The program’s budget has not been confirmed, but some reports suggest it could run as high as 20 billion. This is much more than the money spent on Russian civilian space. The current budget of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, led by Rogozin, receives about 2. 2.4 billion a year.