SpaceX secures $1.8B to develop covert US spy satellite network

  • SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, initiated the development of a surveillance satellite network in collaboration with a U.S. intelligence agency.
  • Known as the Starshield project, it entails deploying hundreds of low-orbit satellites to collaboratively capture Earth images.
  • SpaceX has secured a $1.8 billion confidential deal with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to build hundreds of satellites.

Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, is now building a network of surveillance satellites for a U.S. intelligence organisation.

Confidental deal with NRO

The Starshield project intends to put into operation a new surveillance system made up of hundreds of low-orbiting satellites that can image the Earth cooperatively.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the project entails building hundreds of satellites under a confidential deal valued at $1.8 billion contract signed in 2021 with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Also read: SpaceX prepares for more complex third Starship test flight

About Starshield project

SpaceX’s Starshield business unit will develop a satellite system to improve the military and government of the United States’ capacity for worldwide monitoring.

Although there is still uncertainty around the operating schedule of the satellite network and the participation of other firms, the project is distinct from Starlink, SpaceX’s commercial broadband constellation.

Also read: SpaceX faces allegations of firing employees who criticized Elon Musk

The network is structured with sizable satellites outfitted with imaging sensors, accompanied by multiple relay satellites facilitating data transmission through inter-satellite lasers across the system.

With this project, the U.S. government will be able to conduct military operations and information gathering with previously unheard-of coverage and responsiveness.


Sylvia Shen

Sylvia Shen, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from University of California, Davis. Send tips to

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