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SpaceX inked $1.8 billion deal with US intelligence agency to create a network of spy satellites, report says

Elon Musk during a SpaceX news conference
SpaceX in 2021 signed a $1.8 billion deal to create a network of spy satellites for a US intelligence agency, according to new reporting by Reuters.AP
  • SpaceX's national security ties are deeper than previously known, a new Reuters report revealed.

  • The astronautics company inked a $1.8 billion deal in 2021 with a US intelligence agency.

  • Under the contract terms, SpaceX will build a network of spy satellites, the outlet reported.

SpaceX's substantial ties to US national security are deeper than previously known, according to a new Reuters report.

The astronautics company inked a $1.8 billion deal in 2021 with an American intelligence agency to create a network of spy satellites, the outlet reported, citing five sources familiar with the terms of the program.

The satellite network is being built in partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that manages spy satellites, and when complete is intended to offer the US military and intelligence agencies enhanced capabilities to identify targets worldwide, Reuters reported.

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

One source familiar with the program told Reuters the system's capabilities will make it so "no one can hide."

The Wall Street Journal in February reported on the existence of SpaceX's $1.8 billion contract with an intelligence agency but did not detail the terms of the deal.

Representatives for SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

SpaceX's ties to US national security forces have been long documented. But the Reuters report sheds new light on the depths of the company's connections to American intelligence and military powers.

In 2022, the astronautics company led by Elon Musk debuted its "Starshield" satellites, designed specifically for government use, with a higher level of data security and end-to-end encryption.

The company has also provided satellite connectivity for military forces in Ukraine, and US officials have pressured SpaceX to provide services for military forces in Taiwan.

Musk's power and growing influence in the national security space have drawn scrutiny from critics who argue his erratic and unpredictable behavior, as well as his alleged drug use, make his companies high risk for US intelligence to invest in.

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