SpaceX offers Starshield to military
December 5, 2022
SpaceX has unveiled Starshield, a new product and business division aimed at the US military and other government agencies concerned with national security.
SpaceX/Starshield taps into Elon Musk’s now well-established mega constellation of low Earth orbiting craft and – helped by the FCC’s permission last week to expand the fleet by an additional 7,500 second generation satellites – which can provide secure communications, remote sensing and even space surveillance activity.
“While Starlink is designed for consumer and commercial use, Starshield is designed for government use, with an initial focus on three areas: Earth observation, communications and hosted payloads,” the company states on its website. “SpaceX’s ongoing work with the Department of Defense and other partners demonstrates our ability to provide in-space and on-ground capability at scale.”
December 6th will see 40 Starlinks launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre.
Seemingly SpaceX will tap into the skillset achieved from its activity in Ukraine and having demonstrated that it can already supply secure communications with ground troops and support work in a war zone.
SpaceX adds that it can host classified payloads which will satisfy the most demanding government needs.
However, the system on offer needs satellites with on-board laser terminals and thus make them interoperable with military satellites already in orbit. This suggests only those craft – usually referred to as Version 1.5- would be suitable. Indeed, access to so-called ‘next generation’ (Version 2.0) are more likely to be on offer and with the sort of enhanced features needed by the military.