SpaceX’s Starlink internet service received praise from the Pentagon after connecting U.S. troops in the Arctic.
“We have started testing high-rate connectivity to very remote Arctic bases,” said Brian Beal.
Beal is the principal aerospace engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Strategic Development and Experimentation office. He noted that data rates at one Arctic base using Starlink improved nearly 30-fold compared to previous capabilities, demonstrating “very high-rate communications. On top of its performance, Starlink was also easy to set up for troops.
“You can imagine an Army, Air Force or Navy unit deployed to a remote location that doesn’t have the cell-phone service niceties and very quickly have communications at high rates that an airman can set up in 10 minutes–that’s a great capability to have,” Beal told Bloomberg.
Starlink in Ukraine
SpaceX has already demonstrated Starlink’s capabilities in a military field in Ukraine. Ukrainian soldiers have found Starlink connection beneficial during the war with Russia. The Pentagon has also recognized Starlink’s role during the Ukraine-Russian War.
In early October, the Pentagon shared it discussed possible satellite communication services in Ukraine with SpaceX and other providers. However, Elon Musk withdrew SpaceX’s request for Starlink funding in Ukraine shortly after the Pentagon’s announcement.
SpaceX and the Pentagon
SpaceX has recently won a few national security satellite launches, beating out usual defense contractors like Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. The aerospace company’s ties with the Pentagon appear to be strengthening.
A few weeks ago, SpaceX launched a Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a classified payload for the U.S. Space Force into orbit. The Falcon Heavy took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
SpaceX has four launches planned for the Air Force’s Space Development Agency in the following weeks to months. The first two launches for the Space Development Agency are scheduled for next month. The four launches will send missile-tracking satellites into orbit.