The Pentagon has awarded Elon Musk’s SpaceX its first confirmed contract for the Starshield network it’s developing, a military-specific version of the company’s Starlink satellite internet system, the defense agency said Wednesday.
A Space Force spokesperson confirmed that SpaceX on Sept. 1 was awarded a one-year contract for Starshield with a maximum value of $70 million. The award came alongside 18 other companies through a program run by the Space Force’s commercial satellite communications office.
“The SpaceX contract provides for Starshield end-to-end service (via the Starlink constellation), user terminals, ancillary equipment, network management, and other related services,” Space Force spokesperson Ann Steefnek told CNBC.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the Starshield contract.
The company unveiled Starshield last year as a new business line. The Pentagon is already a high-value buyer of the company’s rocket launches and had shown increasing interest in its Starlink satellite internet.
SpaceX has given few details about the intended scope and capabilities of Starshield. It markets the service as the center of an “end-to-end,” dedicated offering for national security with capabilities distinct from its Starlink consumer and enterprise network.
SpaceX’s award for Starshield follows its June win of a Pentagon contract to buy an undefined number of Starlink ground terminals for use in Ukraine.
The initial phase of the Starshield contract obligates $15 million to SpaceX by Sept. 30, to provide services that support 54 military “mission partners” across Department of Defense branches, the spokesperson said.
Bloomberg first reported the contract on Thursday.
– CNBC’s Claudia Johnson contributed to this report.