Elon Musk's SpaceX unveils Starlink-like satellite service for governments called 'Starshield'

Elon Musk SpaceX
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.Steve Nesius/Reuters
  • SpaceX has launched a satellite network, called Starshield, to be used by governments.

  • Starshield is intended to "support national security efforts," according to Elon Musk's company.

  • Starshield will offer a higher level of security than its Starlink satellite service, SpaceX says.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has formed a satellite network called "Starshield," specifically created for governmental use.

SpaceX added a Starshield tab to the top of its website at the start of the week, but hasn't yet made any public announcements about the new network.

SpaceX says on its website that Starshield will use Starlink technology, which beams high-speed internet from satellites in orbit to terminals on the ground. Despite this, SpaceX indicated that Starshield will be different from the Starlink satellite constellation, which now has more than 3,200 satellites in low-Earth orbit.

"While Starlink is designed for consumer and commercial use, Starshield is designed for government use," SpaceX says on its website.

Starshield is designed to "support national security efforts" by launching satellites for Earth observation, providing global communications to governments, and building satellite buses for complex missions, according to SpaceX's website.

SpaceX says on the site that although Starlink offers end-to-end user data encryption, Starshield is expected to offer a higher level of security in order to meet government requirements.

SpaceX says it can work at "unprecedented speed" to deploy its Starshield network given that it provides "end-to-end" solutions from building rockets to user terminals.

At the bottom of the page, SpaceX says its ongoing projects with the US Department of Defense and other partners proves its "ability to provide in-space and on-ground capability at scale."

The US Air Force awarded a $102 million contract to SpaceX in January to help deliver military cargo and humanitarian aid worldwide via its rockets. SpaceX then landed a $2 million Air Force contract during the summer to provide Starlink in Europe and Africa.

SpaceX and Starshield didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for further comment on the launch.

Do you have tips about SpaceX's Starlink or Starshield? Get in touch with this reporter via email kduffy@insider.com, kate.duffy01@protonmail.com, or Twitter DM for Signal.

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