Starshield: SpaceX Is Reportedly Working On A Classified Project For The US Government

Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX is working on a classified project for the US Government, according to a new report from Reuters. 

The firm, responsible for internet-providing satellite network Starlink, signed a $1.8 billion classified contract with an unknown government agency in 2021, as reported by the Wall Street Journal

Musk confirmed in 2023 that SpaceX is working on “Starshield”. The project “leverages SpaceX’s Starlink technology and launch capability to support national security efforts,” SpaceX explains on its website. “While Starlink is designed for consumer and commercial use, Starshield is designed for government use.”

SpaceX continues that the three initial areas of focus are Earth observation, communications, and hosted payloads.

“Starlink needs to be a civilian network, not a participant to combat. Starshield will be owned by the US government and controlled by DoD Space Force,” Musk wrote on X (Twitter), adding, “Starlink needs to be a civilian network, not a participant to combat.”


Reuters reports that the contract SpaceX signed is with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the government agency responsible for managing spy satellites. According to sources who spoke to the news agency, Musk’s firm is creating a network of hundreds of satellites that can operate as a swarm in low-Earth orbit, capable of imaging the Earth below.

“The National Reconnaissance Office is developing the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen,” the NRO said in a statement seen by Reuters. 

The specific capabilities of the satellite network are unknown, with both SpaceX and the NRO declining to comment on the specifics of the project. However, a source told Reuters that “no one can hide” from the system’s reach.

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