Categories: Tech News

US Air Force awards SpaceX $1.9 million for battle-proven Starlink services

The US Air Force has awarded SpaceX a $1.9 million contract for its now battle-tested Starlink satellite broadband services.

As part of the contract, the US Air Force will use Starlink to support operations at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. SpaceX will provide Starlink terminals and access to the service for both fixed-site and mobile users.

Starlink is currently designed for use in fixed locations. A new ‘Portability’ feature was launched earlier this year (for an additional monthly fee), but current terminals are not meant to be used in moving vehicles (not that this has stopped some people with a bit of hacking computing).

SpaceX has been clear that it intends to offer Starlink services to moving vehicles of all types, including aircraft and ships. Earlier this year, the FCC granted SpaceX provisional authorization to provide Starlink connectivity to moving vehicles.

When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, telecommunications networks were attacked and several reports surfaced of Ukrainians turning to Starlink to stay connected. Over the following months, SpaceX shipped more batches of Starlink terminals to the country:

Starlink was literally battle-tested and the US Air Force took notice.

“Starlink is the only communications company in the LEO constellation currently offering this commercial satellite solution with services in Europe and Africa. Starlink is also the only LEO satellite network provider in use currently in a disputed environment: Ukraine,” the contract says.

A number of LEO satellite networks are emerging from providers such as Amazon, OneWeb, Telesat and others, but none are anywhere near as established as Starlink.

“AFRL has found that in a contested environment, LEO constellations are much more resilient to signal emission and also provide the low latency needed to support tactical missions,” the document notes.

OneWeb, which is part-owned by the UK government, was pointed out as the next best option after Starlink. However, OneWeb currently does not have Starlink coverage, and its planned launches this year were scrapped by the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

(Photo by Hans Dorries on Unsplash)

Related: OneWeb turns to SpaceX for satellite launches after Roscosmos exits

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Tags: broadband, connectivity, Leo satellite, military, networks, carrier, rural, satellite, spacex, starlink, telecommunications, US Air Force


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