SpaceX to Build Missile-Tracking Satellites for the Pentagon
SpaceX is branching out. The U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA) announced on Monday that Elon Musk's company will be building missile-tracking satellites for the Pentagon.
SpaceX won a $149 million contract to build these satellites, making this the first time the company is working with the government to build satellites.
SpaceX has been sending satellites up into orbit throughout its ongoing Starlink mission, which helps improve internet connection in hard-to-reach areas around the world.
SpaceX's new contract
As the company already owns a satellite-building plant thanks to its Starlink mission, SpaceX plans to use its Redmond assembly plant in Washington for its upcoming project.
The other firm that will be building another four satellites for this project is L3 Harris Technologies Inc., which received $193 million for the project.
All satellites should be ready by the autumn of 2022, when they will be launched into orbit.
These contracts are part of the SDA's first generation of the Tracking Layer, which is the procurement of satellites that are meant to detect and track missiles such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, which can be launched from very far away and travel extremely long distances. They are typically very tricky to track and trace.
SpaceX has a busy upcoming schedule, which seems to only be getting busier. Keep an eye out for its Halloween launch of NASA and JAXA astronauts to the ISS. It was also recently busy testing aspects of its Starship missions, just like when it blew up its test tank last month.
As you can see from its most recent Twitter post, it keeps forging forwards with its tests:
A Falcon Heavy side booster that will support the USSF-44 mission for the @SpaceForceDoD next year completed a full-duration static fire test last week at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas pic.twitter.com/jZACfDtMxG— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 5, 2020
This project aims to use olivine, a carbon-capturing mineral, to naturally capture billions of atmospheric carbon dioxide and with the power of the oceans.