Musk's satellite project testing encrypted internet with military planes

By Joey Roulette WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Air Force is using SpaceX's fledgling satellite network to test encrypted internet services for a number of military planes, the space company's president said on Tuesday, detailing results for the first customer of Elon Musk's planned constellation of thousands of broadband-beaming satellites. 'We are delivering high bandwidth into the cockpit of Air Force planes,' SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said on Tuesday.

Reuters October 23, 2019 03:06:45 IST
Musk's satellite project testing encrypted internet with military planes

Musks satellite project testing encrypted internet with military planes

By Joey Roulette

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Air Force is using SpaceX's fledgling satellite network to test encrypted internet services for a number of military planes, the space company's president said on Tuesday, detailing results for the first customer of Elon Musk's planned constellation of thousands of broadband-beaming satellites.

"We are delivering high bandwidth into the cockpit of Air Force planes," SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said on Tuesday. "Right now we're just testing the capability and figuring out how to make it work."

SpaceX's so-called Starlink constellation, a planned network of up to 30,000 satellites in low Earth orbit intended to beam broadband internet globally, is crucial to generating the cash to fund development of Musk's heavy-lift Mars rocket dubbed Starship.

The Air Force program, known as Global Lightning, started testing with SpaceX in early 2018 and used Starlink's first two test satellites to beam to terminals fixed to a C-12 military transport plane in flight, demonstrating internet speeds of 610 megabytes per-second, SpaceX Senior Vice President Tim Hughes said. That's fast enough to download a movie in under a minute.

SpaceX launched in May the first batch of 60 operational satellites into low Earth orbit and plans to launch another 60 in November from an Air Force station in Florida.

Shotwell said the program, part of a $28 million (£21.73 million) Pentagon contract awarded to SapceX in late 2018, is ongoing and expects to test Starlink with "a number" of additional military aircraft types. That contract also includes testing communications between satellites in orbit.

The U.S. military is increasingly dependent on satellites to determine what it does on the ground, guiding munitions with space-based lasers and satellites as well as securing such assets from satellite-jamming technology from Russia and China.

The head of the new U.S. Space Command, General John Raymond, told reporters in September that he visited SpaceX's Starlink factory in Redmond, Washington, but did not go into details about the Pentagon's plans.

Starlink is competing with Softbank-backed OneWeb, which aims to give millions of people in remote and rural areas high-speed internet beamed down from space and has already launched a batch of six satellites. Raymond said he also visited OneWeb's new satellite production line in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

(Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Sandra Maler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Guinea president 'captured', govt dissolved, claim army putschists'; attack on presidential palace repulsed, say authorities
World

Guinea president 'captured', govt dissolved, claim army putschists'; attack on presidential palace repulsed, say authorities

Reports suggest that they captured President Alpha Conde and dissolved the government, bust the ground situation remains unclear

Cryptocurrency prices tumble and exchange trading falters as snags crop up
News & Analysis

Cryptocurrency prices tumble and exchange trading falters as snags crop up

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The price of cryptocurrencies plunged and crypto trading was delayed on Tuesday, a day in which El Salvador ran into snags as the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. Shares of blockchain-related firms also fell as crypto stocks were hit by trading platform outages. But the major focus was on El Salvador, where the government had to temporarily unplug a digital wallet to cope with demand.

Ford poaches Apple's car project chief Doug Field
News & Analysis

Ford poaches Apple's car project chief Doug Field

By Joseph White and Sanjana Shivdas (Reuters) -The head of Apple Inc's car project, Doug Field, is going to work for Ford Motor Co to lead the automaker's advanced technology and embedded systems efforts, a hiring coup for Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley.