Thursday December 27, 2018

SpaceX Wins Military Contract to Experiment with Commercial Space Internet

Elon Musk's SpaceX has been granted a $28 million Department of Defense (DoD) contract per FA8650-17-S-9300 to research and experiment with establishing connectivity, operational, and special purpose experimentation with U.S. Air Force ground sites and aircraft. In phase two of the experiments, SpaceX desires to create an early version of a commercial space-to-space data relay service and mobile connectivity directly from space to aircraft. The awards were given on Dec 19, 2018 and the work is expected to be completed by June 18, 2021. SpaceX was recently granted FCC approval to launch 7,500 Starlink low Earth orbit internet satellites into space that would create a blanket of internet connectivity for the USA. Recently we reported that SpaceX carried its first military cargo into space.

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This agreement allows for experimentation in the areas of establishing connectivity, operational experimentation, and special purpose experimentation. Experimentation will include connectivity demonstrations to Air Force ground sites and aircraft for experimental purposes. For the proposed Phase 2, the awardee proposes to perform experiments in two other key areas: early versions of a commercial space-to-space data relay service and mobile connectivity directly from space to aircraft.

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