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  • Voltaire Staff

Musk-led SpaceX building spy satellites for US govt since '21: Sources

SpaceX has been building for the United States government several hundreds of spy satellites which will surveil the Earth to lend support to the ground forces, Reuters has reported.

The Elon Musk-led company, which has been building the satellites under its Starshield unit, has been working for the country's National Reconnaissance Office, or NRO, since 2021 under a $1.8 billion contract, the agency reported citing sources.

NRO, an intelligence wing that oversees the spy satellite programme for the US, in a statement acknowledged the existence of spy programme, but refused to confirm SpaceX’s involvement.

"The National Reconnaissance Office is developing the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen," an NRO spokesperson told Reuters.

According to sources, the satellites can track targets on the ground and share that data with US intelligence and the military, enabling the nation to capture imagery nearly anywhere on the globe.

"No one can hide," one of the sources told Reuters.

The venture is different from SpaceX's Starlink programme, which deploys satellites in space to connect consumers with internet.

The deal, according to sources, indicates a rapprochement between the Joe Biden government and Musk, who had caused some annoyance to the dispensation with his turning off of Starlink satellites in Ukraine, which, according to Musk, had been planning to scupper a Russian fleet at anchor in Sevastopol.

The gesture was seen by the Biden administration as abuse of the remit Musk was granted under a contract to aid Ukraine, which is at war with Russia for the past two years.




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