SpaceX and the Pentagon, it is an old love story: the first has always known that the financing of its civil activities must go through the signing of military contracts, and it did not hesitate to do so, becoming a space partner of the highest order for US armies and government agencies.
On many occasions, Falcon rockets from the young shot led by Elon Musk e.g. been used to put into orbit secret defense or other observation satellites.
SpaceX has also been chosen to develop and launch a hypersonic missile surveillance and tracking network, and we know that the Pentagon is very interested in the company’s large launch vehicle, Starship, to transport troops or equipment at lightning speed from one point to another on the globe.
And Starlink, the orbital network of satellites created by Musk’s company to deliver internet everywhere on the globe? Despite some hiccups and setbacks in financial matters, the system has largely proven its military and vital utility to the civilian population in times of war, as well as its resilience to Russian hacking attempts.
But Starlink is a civilian oriented system. Then, at the beginning of December, SpaceX discreetly unveiled Starshield, the specifically military version of its network and its equipment, whose good services it intends to offer to the Pentagon as well as to US government agencies such as the CIA or the NSA . “Support for National Security”thus proclaiming the website the official site of the structure.
Which, however, provides little detail about what is planned, will be designed, or may already have been. Three main goals have been identified for Starshield: terrestrial observation, whose military importance is well known, communications (military security and interoperability with existing systems appear to be on the agenda), and dispatch of “buses” as needed. satellites”.
It is also a question, on the same official site, about “modular design” satellites offered by Starshield, “integration of a wide range of loads offering unique versatility to users”. It therefore appears that SpaceX proposes the development by its own care of customized devices for various military purposes, why not armies, of which we do not have the details, secret nature of the missions oblige.
As Techcrunch explains, it is not impossible that all this is still only very hypothetical, a service offering that only awaits profitable orders. But it’s also not entirely impossible that Starshield has been working in the shadows for some time now, and that some of these projects and new hardware concepts are already well advanced.
In both cases, the stakes are high enough for both parties – financial for SpaceX, strategic for the United States government – that a structure dedicated to these things is thus created, completely separate from the company’s many civilian activities to avoid any confusion of genres and budgets.