Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

Musk's SpaceX Building Spy Satellite Network For US Intel Agency: Sources

Elon Musk's SpaceX is constructing a classified network of spy satellites for the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), according to insiders.
Under a $1.8 billion deal inked in 2021, SpaceX's Starshield division is developing this network to bolster US intelligence and military surveillance capabilities.

These specialized satellites, which can operate collectively in low-earth orbits, will significantly enhance the US's capacity to detect potential targets worldwide almost instantly.

Despite past tensions between Musk and the Biden administration, particularly regarding Starlink's use in Ukraine, this contract reflects the intelligence community's increasing confidence in SpaceX.

The Wall Street Journal first hinted at the contract without detailing its scope. Now revealed, this spy system will deploy hundreds of satellites capable of capturing high-resolution images of the Earth's surface.

The Starshield network, noted to be distinct from the commercial Starlink broadband array, is part of a broader strategy to ensure US military dominance in space. It aims to provide continuous, real-time monitoring capabilities that were previously unattainable with traditional, higher-orbiting satellites.

Details on the network's completion and the involvement of other companies are not disclosed. Around a dozen prototype satellites have already been launched since 2020 on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets.

While SpaceX hasn't commented, the NRO acknowledges its ambition to create a highly capable satellite surveillance system, emphasizing collaboration with other entities.

The initiative signals a strategic shift to a more expansive and resilient space-based intelligence network, leveraging smaller, more versatile satellites. As global competitors like China and Russia advance their space capabilities, the US aims to maintain a technological edge, ensuring its network is less vulnerable to space threats.

Overall, these efforts indicate a move toward space systems that enable uninterrupted global reconnaissance, representing one of the most critical capabilities desired by the US government in space.

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