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SpaceX announces Starshield, a new satellite service for governments

BGR 12/7/2022 Joe Wituschek
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SpaceX is taking its Starlink satellite technology to a new buyer: the government.

In a new webpage on the SpaceX website, the company revealed Starshield, a new satellite service that will be directed at governments over consumers. The webpage says that the new service can be used to “support national security efforts.”

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.

The company says that Starshield is designed for use in three main areas:

  • Earth Observation: Starshield launches satellites with sensing payloads and delivers processed data directly to the user
  • Communications: Starshield provides assured global communications to government users with Starshield user equipment
  • Hosted Payloads: Starshield builds satellite buses to support the most demanding customer payload missions

The company specifically focuses in on security, saying that “Starlink already offers unparalleled end-to-end user data encryption. Starshield uses additional high-assurance cryptographic capability to host classified payloads and process data securely, meeting the most demanding government requirements.”

SpaceX calls out its existing Starlink and launch programs as selling points for governments to sign on with its new Starshield service. SpaceX has a longstanding partnership with NASA and the United States government, so it’s likely that the company has the country in mind when it comes to selling the service.

SpaceX has been quite busy lately. Last month, the company announced that it would be bringing Starlink to private planes with some new hardware designed for small aircraft. It’s currently unclear if the company plans to launch a similar service for commercial airlines to compete with other in-flight internet services. t also announced that Starlink would now work for RV customers, not only when they were stationary, but also when they were driving.

It’s currently unclear if Starshield already has a customer or if the company is still working to land its first contract.

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