Elon Musk’s Contribution to the Space Industry: Is SpaceX Transforming Their Satellites for Military Purposes?
Elon Musk, the famous American billionaire, has made a significant contribution to the space industry. His company SpaceX has developed stalling satellites with an impressive functionality range despite its relatively small size and low cost. These satellites were launched using Falcon rockets, which made numerous successful launches to date. However, recent rumors suggest that SpaceX is transforming their satellites for military purposes. In this article, we will explore whether Elon Musk’s technology is effective against Russian and Chinese spy satellites and what else these satellites can do in combat zones.
Cooperating with the Pentagon
The rumors surrounding military usage of the SpaceX satellites did not come out of nowhere. Elon Musk has already been cooperating with the Pentagon extensively. In 2020, the Space Development Agency under the United States Department of Defense signed a contract worth $149 million with SpaceX. The agreement states that SpaceX will be producing military satellites to track missile launches. These satellites will transfer missile data to hypersonic airborne vehicles and the next generation of anti-missile systems. Additionally, the Pentagon signed another agreement worth $193 million with L3 Harris Technologies Company. Both companies will produce four satellites each by the end of 2022, 8 of which will be civilian satellites from SpaceX and L3 Harris technologies, and 28 will be for transportation.
Under the TRASH NEIL project, the agency plans to acquire 36 machines, and if a tracking satellite detects a threat, it will send the information to the transporters. The transporters will then calculate how to deflect the attack and send data to the weaponry platform. Companies such as Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems were awarded contracts for the construction of ten such transportation satellites. A representative of the SDA told Reuters that SpaceX is using its plant in Redmond, Washington, to assemble these vehicles.
Selling Communication Services
Moreover, in 2019, Elon Musk’s company received a $28 million contract from the United States Air Force. The military paid for the use of the stalling satellite network to test the encrypted internet. Many military experts believe that the US military is now looking for a space company capable of building satellites with built-in combat systems. Such technology will allow the US military to neutralize spy satellites of potential enemies such as Russia and China. While it might only be a preliminary deal, In case anyone dares to violate the ban on using weapons in space, provided that such weapons are prohibited, the US military will have a backup plan.
The SpaceX stalling satellites have shown their effectiveness in the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian armed forces used a satellite internet company, Stalling, for uninterrupted internet access to connect to unmanned aircraft. With Stalling’s assistance, Ukrainian drones used a system Delta, which was improved by western advisors. This system makes it possible to create an interactive map on which images transmitted from unmanned vehicles are shown. The Ukrainian armed forces, using satellite imagery, field intelligence data, and other data, are said to have accurately attacked the positions of the Russian troops. The Stalling application became one of the most downloaded apps in Ukraine, with more than 100 thousand downloads.
Elon Musk’s cooperation with the Pentagon has undoubtedly made a significant contribution to space intelligence and modern warfare. Despite its focus on the civilian sector, SpaceX has shown impressive results in both military exercises and combat situations. The US Army will be preparing new commercial proposals for SpaceX to sign contracts for the development of military satellites. It remains to be seen what Elon Musk will do next, but the potential for further collaboration between SpaceX and the Pentagon is considerable.