SPACEX has reportedly been developing a network of spy satellites for the US National Reconnaissance Office.

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is a member of the United States Intelligence Community, specifically the US Department of Defense.

The agency develops and operates space-based assets and ground systems to sense threats around the world in real-time.

Now, it has been reported that SpaceX’s Starshield unit has held a classified contract with the NRO since 2021, per Reuters.

The $1.8 billion contract is supposedly for developing a network of hundreds of spy satellites, according to an unnamed Reuter’s source.

SpaceX’s spy satellites would operate in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and be able to shoot extremely detailed images of our planet.

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The existence of the SpaceX-NRO contract was first hinted at in a Wall Street Journal report from February.

However, it wasn’t clear then what the contract was for, only that Starshield was working with an unknown intelligence agency.

Reuters’ recent report did not specify when this spy network will be operational or if any other company is involved.

But the revelation does demonstrate how deeply involved US intelligence agencies and SpaceX are.

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“The NRO is developing the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen,” an NRO spokesperson told Reuters.

These satellites can reportedly track targets on the ground and then share their findings with US intelligence.

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When operational, this could allow the US government to swiftly capture imagery anywhere on Earth and then share it with military officials.

Reuters said that SpaceX declined several attempts for comment about the contract.

The Pentagon reportedly referred a request for comment to the NRO and SpaceX.


SpaceX is an American spacecraft manufacturer, launch service provider, defense contractor, and satellite communications company.

Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company was founded in 2002 by billionaire Elon Musk.

One of the company’s biggest ventures remains its Starlink satellite venture.

Starlink was launched by Musk in 2015 as a way to bring internet service to remote parts of the world.

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The internet service works via satellite telecommunications by beaming internet data to users.

Currently, Starlink has around 5,504 satellites in LEO, with plans to deploy another 12,000, and eventually expand to around 42,000.

Elon Musk

ELON MUSK is the CEO of Tesla Motors, Space x, founder of The Boring Company, and co-founder of Neuralink and open AI