Elon Musk's SpaceX signs contract with Pentagon for 'Starshield', military version of Starlink


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The Department of Defense has announced that it has signed a contract with SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, for its military satellite program ``Starshield.'' SpaceX also signed a contract with the Department of Defense to provide Starlink to Ukraine in June 2023, and this new program will further expand SpaceX's role in the military field.

SpaceX Wins First US Space Force Contract for Satellites - Bloomberg

SpaceX wins first Pentagon contract for Starshield

The Department of Defense announced on September 27, 2023, that SpaceX has been awarded the first contract for Starshield, which is under development. The U.S. Space Force also confirmed that SpaceX was awarded a one-year contract for Starshield on September 1st.

According to foreign media Bloomberg, the U.S. Space Force is proceeding with the ``Proliferated Low Earth Orbit (PLEO)'' program, which uses communication satellites orbiting at an altitude of about 160 km to 1,600 km above the Earth. It is said that 16 companies including SpaceX are fighting over a contract for a total of 900 million dollars (about 134.4 billion yen).

Ann Stefanek, a spokeswoman for the Space Force, said the contract for Starshield is ``up to $70 million (approximately 10 billion yen) and includes Starshield end-to-end services via satellite constellations and user terminals. 'What we offer,' he explains.

The Department of Defense has long been one of SpaceX's biggest customers, awarding a joint national security mission with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, in June 2023, as well as a mission to Ukraine in the same month. We have also concluded a contract to provide Starlink. In September, SpaceX launched 13 Space Exploration Agency satellites into orbit using its Falcon 9 rocket.

However, in the United States, there are voices that are cautious about the private company SpaceX being deeply involved in the field of national defense. Before the Pentagon and SpaceX signed a contract for Starlink to Ukraine, it was revealed that SpaceX had cut off services to prevent the Ukrainian military from operating Starlink drones, and a group of lawmakers announced that they would launch an investigation. This caused a backlash.

It turns out that SpaceX restricted the use of ``Starlink'' by the Ukrainian military, executives say ``there was no intention to weaponize it'' - GIGAZINE

by Official SpaceX Photos

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, a group of senators investigating the matter said: ``We believe that SpaceX, at Mr. Musk's whim, imposed restrictions on the self-defense of sovereign nations, effectively serving Russian interests.'' 'We are deeply concerned about their ability or willingness to disrupt that service in order to defend their interests.'

SpaceX did not respond to media inquiries regarding the matter, but Musk told reporters, 'Starlink must be a civilian network and not participate in combat. Starshield, on the other hand, is It will be owned by the Department of Defense and managed by the Department of Defense Space Force. This is the right way to be.'

in Note, Posted by log1l_ks