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SpaceX building a spy satellite network?

March 18, 2024

Widespread stories suggest that SpaceX is widening the scope of its existing ‘Starshield’ satellite communications service, which already exists in part, to allow the US military and their intelligence agencies to track their targets and support American and allied ground forces in real time almost anywhere across the globe, Reuters has reported.

Elon Musk has previously confirmed that while Starlink was a pure civilian network, SpaceX was developing a military version which would be wholly “owned” by the US government and controlled by the Department of Defense.

Reuters has shared new details about SpaceX’s ties with the Pentagon. SpaceX has been launching prototype military satellites alongside “civilian” payloads on Falcon 9 rockets since at least 2020, before eventually securing a lucrative $1.8 billion contract with the USA’s National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in 2021.

The plan, says the press agency, is for the 6000+ low-Earth orbiting satellites to track targets on the ground in real time nearly anywhere across the world, the sources claimed, with one source telling Reuters that Starshield would ensure “no one can hide” from the US government. Starshield also reportedly aims to be “more resilient to attacks” by rival space powers not least Russia and China.

The NRO confirmed to Reuters that it was developing “the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen,” but declined to comment on SpaceX’s role in the project.

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