SpaceX is expanding its service with a new type of internet satellite service.
The private space company, which provides high-speed broadband via its huge Starlink satellite constellation, recently disclosed that it is starting a joint endeavour with Starshield to serve government organisations.
The emphasis will be on customers in the national security sector, and the news comes in the same year that SpaceX assisted military troops and citizens stay connected in war torn Ukraine.
SpaceX’s new national security-focused Starshield service
According to SpaceX’s new Starshield website, “Starshield leverages SpaceX’s Starlink technology and launch capacity to help national security activities.”
“Whereas Starlink is intended for consumer & commercial usage, Starshield is intended for government use, with an initial focus on three areas” — those 3 areas are Earth observation, communications, and hosted payloads.
The same inter-satellite laser communications terminal used by Starlink satellites can also be used by Starshield satellites. According to SpaceX, this is the “sole communications laser functioning at scale in orbit today.”
Furthermore, SpaceX claims that Starshield will be more secure than its standard offering, with “added high-assurance cryptographic capability to host classified payloads and process data securely, fulfilling the most demanding government requirements.”
SpaceX’s new Starshield page provides little further in the way of specifications regarding its Starshield satellites or service, which is to be anticipated for a national security service.
SpaceX gears up toward the launch of Starlink 2.0
SpaceX presently has over 3,200 active Starlink satellites in orbit, and it plans to expand its mega constellation in the coming months and years in order to deliver its service to more parts of the world while maintaining excellent quality service.
The commercial space company has received authorization from the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy 12,000 first-generation Starlink satellites and has asked for authority to launch approx. 30,000 Starlink 2.0 satellites.
As seen in the June presentation provided by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Twitter below, SpaceX wants to launch the majority of its Starlink 2.0 satellites using its in-development, totally reusable Starship rocket, which will feature a Pez dispenser-like method for deploying the satellites in orbit.
Starlink 2.0 satellites will be larger and more powerful than current-generation equivalents, and they will be capable of beaming service directly to a user’s phone.
SpaceX launched its Starlink internet service over Ukraine immediately after Russia’s invasion in late February of this year. According to some sources, the service was keeping up to 150,000 Ukrainians connected every day, including military personnel, after Russia targeted the country’s communications infrastructure.