Starshield: First Pentagon Contract for SpaceX’s Military Satellite Network


The Pentagon has granted SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, its inaugural confirmed contract for the development of the Starshield network, a military-specific adaptation of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet system. This contract was awarded on September 1st and is set for a one-year duration, with a maximum potential value of $70 million. SpaceX secured this contract through a program managed by the Space Force’s commercial satellite communications office, along with 18 other companies.

The contract encompasses various aspects of the Starshield network, including end-to-end service utilizing the Starlink constellation, user terminals, ancillary equipment, network management, and related services. SpaceX has positioned Starshield as a dedicated offering for national security purposes, distinct from its Starlink network designed for consumer and enterprise use.

Although SpaceX has been tight-lipped about specific details regarding Starshield’s scope and capabilities, it has garnered significant interest from the Pentagon, which has long been a prominent customer for SpaceX’s rocket launches and has shown increasing interest in the Starlink satellite internet system.

This contract is part of the Pentagon’s efforts to enhance its military communications infrastructure and capabilities. The initial phase of the contract requires SpaceX to provide services supporting 54 military “mission partners” across various branches of the Department of Defense. By September 30th, SpaceX will have received $15 million under this contract.

Notably, this contract closely follows SpaceX’s previous win in June, where it secured a Pentagon contract to procure an unspecified number of Starlink ground terminals for deployment in Ukraine, further solidifying SpaceX’s role in bolstering global communication and defense networks.