Elon Musk’s SpaceX wins a $149 million Pentagon contract to build missile-tracking satellites for the U.S Department of Defense
Back in August, we wrote about SpaceX after Elon Musk’s space company was selected by NASA as one of three prime contractors to develop the Artemis Human Lunar Landing System. The other two companies are Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Dynetics (a subsidiary of Leidos). According to NASA, SpaceX will develop the Starship – a fully integrated lander that will use the SpaceX Super Heavy rocket.
Yesterday, SpaceX won another contract, this time from Pentagon. The US Space Development Agency (SDA) said on Monday that Pentagon has awarded SpaceX a $149 million contract to make missile-tracking satellites for the United States Department of Defense.
According to a Tuesday report from Reuters, SpaceX would build four satellites in its assembly plant in Redmond, Washington, the US Space Development Agency (SDA) said on Monday. The plant is where SpaceX builds satellites for Starlink, a constellation of satellites designed to beam the internet around the world. This is SpaceX’s first government contract to build satellites.
The four satellites would be fitted with a wide-angle infrared missile-tracking sensor supplied by a subcontractor, an SDA official said. Under the SDA contract, SpaceX will use its Starlink assembly plant in Redmond, Washington, to build four satellites fitted with a wide-angle infrared missile-tracking sensor supplied by a subcontractor, an SDA official said.
Technology company L3 Harris Technologies Inc., formerly Harris Corporation, received $193 million to build another four satellites. Both companies are expected to deliver the satellites for launch by fall 2022.
The awards are part of the SDA’s first phase to procure satellites to detect and track missiles like intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which can travel long distances and are challenging to track and intercept.
SpaceX in 2019 received $28 million from the Air Force to use the fledgling Starlink satellite network to test encrypted internet services with a number of military planes, though the Air Force has not ordered any Starlink satellites of its own.