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SpaceX is reportedly building hundreds of spy satellites for the US government

SpaceX has been contracted by the Department of Defense’s National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to build a network of hundreds of low-orbiting spy satellites capable of operating as a swarm and tracking targets on the ground, according to . The Reuters report, which cites five sources with knowledge of the program, builds on earlier reporting by that revealed SpaceX had signed a $1.8 billion contract in 2021 with an unnamed agency.

This network, called Starshield, would reportedly be able to gather continuous imagery all over Earth for US intelligence, using a mix of large imaging satellites to collect data and relay satellites to transmit information. According to one source who spoke to Reuters, it has the potential to make it so “no one can hide.” Neither SpaceX nor the NRO directly confirmed the company’s involvement in the project, but an NRO spokesperson told Reuters, “The National Reconnaissance Office is developing the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen.”

Last fall, it was reported that SpaceX had to provide satellite communications under its Starshield program. This is a distinct entity from SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, at least according to , who has said Starlink “needs to be a civilian network,” whereas Starshield is meant to be used for government and national security purposes.

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