Elon Musk’s SpaceX has received the Pentagon award for missile tracking satellites,
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has won a $149 million contract to build missile-tracking satellites for the Pentagon, the SDA (U.S. Space Development Agency) said Monday, in the company’s first government contract to build satellites. Known for its astronaut capsules and reusable rockets, SpaceX is expediting satellite production for Starlink.
SpaceX’s Starlink alludes to a satellite internet constellation, which is being constructed by the aerospace company. The project is a rapidly growing constellation of multiple internet-beaming satellites that Musk hopes will help them generate enough revenue to help fund SpaceX’s interplanetary goals.
The SDA contract requires SpaceX to use its Redmond, Washington based Starlink assembly plant to make four satellites integrated with a wide-angle infrared missile-tracking sensor, which will be provided by a subcontractor, according to an SDA official. Technology company L3 Harris Technologies Inc.(formerly Harris Corporation) received $193 million to manufacture four more satellites.
Both companies are likely to deliver the satellites for launch by fall 2022. The awards are part of the SDA’s initial stage of acquiring satellites to track and detect the ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and other missiles that are capable of traveling long distances and aren’t easy to track and stop.
SpaceX received $28 million from the Air Force last year to use the emerging Starlink satellite network to test encrypted internet services with several planes, however, the Air Force hasn’t ordered Starlink satellites of its own.