How Satellites Helped Ukraine


“NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere late September” by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is marked with CC BY 2.0. To view the terms, visit

By: Oliver Tabbal, Journalist

On February 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left a lot of impacts on the world since then, but there are a few ways other countries can support Ukraine in the fight against Russia. One way that a lot of countries are doing this is through satellite images. Recently, most of the satellites were owned by the government, but now there are a few private companies that provide satellite imagery to regular people. Most satellites are using a type of imagery that can not see through clouds. Some companies however are using a technology called SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar). SAR satellites shoot down energy and record how much is sent back. This then produces an image that can allow seeing anything anyone wants in Ukraine. The best part is, it can see through the clouds that normally cover the sky in Ukraine, and the smoke caused by anything like fires or large storms. The one downside to this is that normal people can not understand the images that it produces, and only experts on it really can. This is a very new technology, but it seems like it is working well to provide aid for Ukraine.

Satellite images have been able to detect key points in the war, when it started,  Russian movements, and safe paths out of the country. Some organizations are using images to lead people out of the country, and you don’t have to risk more people’s lives by having someone on the ground. At one point, the Russians were making a push towards the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, and satellites could tell how fast they were moving and if they ever stopped. Then the Ukrainian people were alerted about this, and exactly how many vehicles were coming their way. Finally, satellite imagery can tell people outside of Ukraine how bad the situation is by showing burned down and destroyed buildings and schools, along with all of the other things happening in Ukraine.

Satellites can also help Ukraine through communication and internet service. The US gave the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a satellite phone which allows him to communicate with the US without relying on resources in Ukraine. Satellites can also help Ukraine through internet service. Elon musk’s company, Starlink, sent internet terminals to Ukraine which can provide some help to the Ukrainian people. He says that they can provide internet in a short area to help some businesses, but they will not help in the event of all internet going out in Ukraine. Some people are saying that these terminals could alert Russians to the presence of Ukrainian people, so you should not use them near places where it would be bad to get bombed. Satellites can do so much to support Ukraine in this war, and it makes the situation slightly more bearable for them.

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