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SpaceX building hundreds of spy satellites for US government, report says

2024-03-18 18:55 by
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SpaceX has been contracted by the Department of Defense's National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to build a network of hundreds of low-orbiting spy satellites capable of operating as a swarm and tracking targets on the ground, according to Reuters. The Reuters report, which cites five sources with knowledge of the program, builds on earlier reporting by The Wall Street Journal that revealed SpaceX had signed a $1.8 billion contract in 2021 with an unnamed agency.

SpaceX describes Starshield as a government-focused secure satellite network, and Elon Musk tweeted it "will be owned by the US government and controlled by DoD Space Force." Last fall, the business unit signed a US Space Force contract to provide satellite communications for the military via Starlink.

The network "will consist of large satellites with imaging sensors, as well as a greater number of relay satellites that pass the imaging data and other communications across the network using inter-satellite lasers," according to Reuters sources. The SpaceX satellites will reportedly contain sensors provided by another company, but Reuters said it was unable to determine which "other companies are part of the program with their own contracts."

The report didn't say when the network will be operational. It does mention that a US database of space objects lists satellites deployed by SpaceX that the company and government have not acknowledged and cites sources confirming those objects as Starshield prototypes.

Read the full Reuters story -here-


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