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Media: SpaceX is building a network of spy satellites for US intelligence

Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources, that SpaceX’s Starshield unit has had a secret contract with the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) since 2021 to build a network of “hundreds” of spy satellites .

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A Wall Street Journal report in February mentioned SpaceX’s secret $1.8 billion contract with a then-unnamed government agency. Reuters has now pointed to the unit and noted that the contract calls for a network of “hundreds of satellites with Earth imaging capabilities that can operate as a swarm in low orbits.”

 

The report does not indicate when the network will be operational or what other companies are involved in the project. It mentions that the US space database lists satellites deployed by SpaceX that the company and the government have not recognized, and sources confirm that these objects are Starshield prototypes.

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SpaceX describes Starshield as a government-focused satellite network, and Elon Musk tweeted that it “will be owned by the US Government and controlled by the Department of Defense Space Force.” Last fall, the unit signed a contract with the U.S. Space Force to provide satellite communications to the military via Starlink.

 

According to Reuters, if the NRO contract is successful, it will “significantly improve the ability of the US government and military to quickly detect potential targets virtually anywhere on the globe.”

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