Elon Musk’s SpaceX gets U.S. Space Force military contract for Starshield network

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News September 29, 2023

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been awarded a U.S. Space Force contract for its Starshield network.

The Pentagon on Wednesday announced the contract for a military-specific version of the company’s Starlink satellite Internet system.

A Space Force spokesperson confirmed that SpaceX on Sept. 1 was awarded a one-year contract for Starshield with a maximum value of $70 million.

“The SpaceX contract provides for Starshield end-to-end service (via the Starlink constellation), user terminals, ancillary equipment, network management and other related services,” Space Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek told CNBC.

SpaceX markets Starshield, which it unveiled last year, as the center of an “end-to-end” dedicated offering for national security with capabilities distinct from its Starlink consumer and enterprise network.

“Starshield leverages SpaceX’s Starlink technology and launch capability to support national security efforts. While Starlink is designed for consumer and commercial use, Starshield is designed for government use, with an initial focus on three areas,” the SpaceX website explains.

The contract for Starshield follows SpaceX’s June win of a Pentagon contract to buy an undefined number of Starlink ground terminals for use in Ukraine.

Last year, the Space Force approved the company’s reusable Falcon Heavy to carry U.S. spy satellites into orbit.

The initial phase of the Starshield contract obligates $15 million to SpaceX by Sept. 30, to provide services that support 54 military “mission partners” across Department of Defense branches, the Space Force spokesperson said.

Several Democrat senators have attacked Musk and called for an investigation into SpaceX’s contracts with the Pentagon after Musk refused a plea from Ukraine to expand the range of Starlink to cover Russian territory.

Musk explained that Kiev’s request was denied because SpaceX needed to comply with American sanctions on Russia. Additionally, the SpaceX terms of service explicitly state that using Starlink for a military attack would violate American laws. Musk also said he would have authorized the Ukrainian request had it come through the U.S. government.

Still, Democrat Sens. Jack Reed, Jeanne Shaheen, Elizabeth Warren, and Tammy Duckworth have smeared Musk as an asset of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and called for an investigation into Musk-owned companies contracting with the Pentagon.

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