SpaceX released ‘Starshield’ satellite services designed for government use to support national security, according to the company’s website which was updated this week. “Starshield leverages SpaceX's Starlink technology and launch capability to support national security efforts. While Starlink is designed for consumer and commercial use, Starshield is designed for government use, with an initial focus on three areas: Earth Observation, Communications, and Hosted Payloads,” states the new website’s page.
As part of ‘Earth Observation,’ the Starshield service will offer “launching satellites with sensing payloads” to deliver “processed data directly to the user,” says the company. This could feature cameras and other data collecting hardware to be installed on Low Earth Orbit satellites. And Starshield ‘Communications’ will provide “assured global communications to government users with Starshield user equipment.”
The company has not yet released photos of how the Starshield terminals and satellites will look like. The Starshield satellite could be based on the Starlink satellite bus but with enhanced capabilities – referred to by the company as ‘Hosted Payloads.’ “Starshield builds satellite buses to support the most demanding customer payload missions,” says the company. The satellites will be “designed to meet diverse mission requirements, Starshield satellites are capable of integrating a wide variety of payloads, offering unique versatility to users.”
Starshield will be compatible with the Starlink constellation to interoperate. “Starlink's inter-satellite laser communications terminal, which is the only communications laser operating at scale in orbit today, can be integrated onto partner satellites to enable incorporation into the Starshield network,” states SpaceX. “Starshield's proliferated low-Earth orbit architecture provides inherent resiliency and constant connectivity to on-orbit assets, while SpaceX's proven rapid launch capability provides expedient and economical access to space.”
To date, SpaceX operates approximately 3,200 Starlink satellites in Low Earth Orbit. The Starlink constellation has demonstrated it is capable of reliably providing high-speed internet service globally to over half-a-million customers. The Starlink cyber security team has been able to protect the broadband network against Russian cyber attacks amid the war with Ukraine. Starlink is in-use by the Ukrainian government’s military, emergency response teams, and civilians. The network has been a useful communication tool to coordinate civilian safety operations. "SpaceX's ongoing work with the Department of Defense and other partners demonstrates our ability to provide in-space and on-ground capability at scale," says the aerospace company.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.