Musk building huge spy satellite network – Reuters — RT World News

SpaceX reportedly signed a $1.8 billion contract with US intelligence services in 2021

Elon Musk's secret Starshield project will allow the US military and spies to track their targets and support US and allied ground forces in real time almost anywhere around the world, Reuters reported, as it shared new details about the billionaire's ties to the Pentagon.

SpaceX has launched prototypes of military satellites side by side “civil” Payloads on Falcon 9 rockets since at least 2020, before eventually landing a lucrative $1.8 billion contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in 2021, Reuters books on Saturday, citing five unnamed sources familiar with the project.

The sources claimed that the vast constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites would be able to track targets on the ground in real time almost anywhere around the world, and one boasted that Starshield would ensure “No one can hide” From the United States government. Starshield is also said to be intended to be just that “More resilient to attacks” By competing space powers.

It remains unclear how many Starshield satellites are currently operational and when the system is expected to become fully operational, with SpaceX and the Pentagon ignoring Reuters' requests for comment. The NRO admitted it was evolving “The most capable, diverse and flexible space intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen.” But he declined to comment on SpaceX's role in the project.

SpaceX's CEO previously acknowledged the development of a military variant of “civil” Starlink system, saying in September that it would be “Owned by the US government” It is controlled by the Ministry of Defence.

“Starlink should be a civilian network, not engaged in combat.” Musk said, referring to the use of satellites in Ukraine throughout the conflict with Russia.

Musk donated about 20,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine shortly after Russia launched its military operation in February 2022. Since then, Kiev's forces have relied heavily on the system to maintain communications and operate drones along the front line.

While Musk has pledged support for Ukraine, he has repeatedly said he prefers a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The billionaire was criticized by US officials after he rejected Kiev's demands to use the Starlink network to assist in strikes on the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. In turn, Musk said that activating Starlink in Crimea would be a violation of US sanctions. The businessman explained that in the absence of any direct orders from the US leadership, SpaceX chose not to violate the regulations despite Kiev's request to do so.

Earlier this month, US lawmakers launched another investigation into SpaceX, following alleged Ukrainian allegations that Russian forces used the Starlink space service on the front line of the conflict. Musk denied these allegations, and insisted on this “No Starlinks were sold directly or indirectly to Russia.” The Kremlin also insisted that the Russian military never requested Starlink terminals.

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