Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been awarded a contract by the Pentagon for the development of the Starshield network, a military-specific version of its Starlink satellite internet system, according to the Defense Agency. The one-year contract, with a maximum value of $70 million, includes the provision for Starshield end-to-end service, user terminals, ancillary equipment, network management, and other related services. The award is part of a program run by the Space Force’s commercial satellite communications office, and SpaceX was one of 18 companies to receive a contract. The Pentagon has been increasingly interested in SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet and has already been a high-value buyer of the company’s rocket launches.
SpaceX introduced Starshield as a new business line last year, but few details have been provided about its intended scope and capabilities. The company promotes the service as an “end-to-end,” dedicated offering for national security, separate from its Starlink consumer and enterprise network. This latest contract follows SpaceX’s previous win in June, where it secured a Pentagon contract for the purchase of an undefined number of Starlink ground terminals for use in Ukraine. Under the initial phase of the Starshield contract, SpaceX is expected to receive $15 million by September 30 to support 54 military “mission partners” across various branches of the Department of Defense.
This contract reinforces the strong ties between SpaceX and the Pentagon, as the company continues to expand its involvement in military-related projects. With the Starshield network, SpaceX aims to further cater to the defense industry’s specific requirements and establish itself as a key player in the national security space. While details about Starshield’s capabilities remain limited, its development positions SpaceX to meet the growing demand for secure and reliable satellite communication systems in defense operations. As SpaceX continues to secure contracts and partnerships in the military sector, it is further solidifying its position in the space industry and marking its commitment to supporting national security efforts.