SpaceX to Build Spy Satellites for US Intelligence Agency, Sources Say

What Happened:

SpaceX is supposedly building a network of hundreds of spy satellites under contract with¬† U.S. intelligence. Unnamed sources approached the media and discussed deepening ties with Musk’s space program and national security agencies. The network is estimated to be worth around $1.8 billion, according to the National Reconnaissance Office, which manages spy satellites.

This could be another extension of the new space race that has been created by the U.S.’s reinvigorated drive to secure space for the “great power conflict,” according to some sources within the U.S. military. If the program succeeds, it will give the U.S. government and military a significant advantage in quickly identifying targets or national security threats across the globe.

The Details:

There is still much unknown information that has not been released or discussed by SpaceX or the intelligence agencies. SpaceX has declined to comment on the project and the Pentagon referred the request to the NRO and SpaceX. The NRO responded with “The National Reconnaissance Office is developing the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen,” according to a spokesperson.

What is known is that the satellites are supposed to be able to act as a swarm in low orbit and can quickly capture continuous images on the ground nearly anywhere in the world. Prototypes of the satellite have been launched around a dozen times, including on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

The Starshield company, under SpaceX, has received many government contracts. The Pentagon has been using SpaceX to launch military payloads into space. The prototype launches were awarded to SpaceX by the Pentagon, which eventually led to them getting the $1.8 billion contract.

Currently, the Starlink satellites have been used to provide Ukraine with secure telecommunications, even as mostly civilian satellites. With the new program underway, government officials expect it to be the point where “no one can hide,” according to an anonymous source.

What’s Next:

Elon Musk, who is the CEO of SpaceX, has been one of the greatest drivers of innovation and competition in the space race. He has won multiple government partnerships and continues to build his company off of contracts from NASA, which pay for the operations and development of his new line of rockets. However, there are some concerns that the government has with private ownership of satellite networks.

When the Ukraine invasion began, Musk offered the Ukrainians use of the Starlink satellite system for secure communications, but did not give the U.S. government permission to access the system, causing some tension between military officials and the private sector. As competition heats up and SpaceX continues to develop these systems, some officials are concerned about the power the private sector will have once the projects are complete.

Regardless, Musk and the U.S. government have clearly got their eyes in the sky for the future. SpaceX is continuing to do test launches for manned missions to space, and the U.S. military is completing a restructuring of the Space Force to ensure that satellite and telecommunication systems are secured.

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Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger holds a Political Science and History BS and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration. Before his time at Atlas he joined GoodPolitical to serve as a writer and contributor while also expanding his knowledge on global events. Matthew is proud to be a part of a news organization that believes in delivering truthful, unfiltered, and unbiased news to people around the world.