SpaceX to build satellites that track ballistic missiles

The contract worth $149 million was signed as the first stage of a comprehensive plan under which the company will build four satellites equipped with special infrared sensors

The launch of a SpaceX Falcon rocket from Kennedy Space Center in 2018. Photo: Bigstock/Copyright: Kent Weakley 

Elon Musk's SpaceX was awarded a contract worth $149 million to build missile-tracking satellites for the Pentagon. It marked the first time for the company, which specializes in launches into space, to win a government contract to build satellites.  

The new contract was signed with the Space Development Agency (SDA) as the first stage of a comprehensive plan to manufacture satellites with the capability to identify and track intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with especially long ranges. 

According to Reuters, in the framework of the contract SpaceX will build four satellites that will be equipped with special infrared tracking sensors that will be supplied by a subcontractor. In 2019 SpaceX won a contract with the US Air Force that facilitated the use of its satellite network, Starlink, to test development of encrypted internet services for a number of types of military aircraft.