US to build “all-encompassing” spy satellite network

Featured image: SpaceX headquarters in California. Source: Reuters

SpaceX is building network of spy satellites called ”Starshield” under a classified contract with the US government. SpaceX has a $1.8 billion contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which includes personnel from the CIA and the Space Forces, to build a network of satellites able to quickly single out military targets almost anywhere in the world to support the ground forces of US imperialism.

“The National Reconnaissance Office is developing the most capable, diverse, and resilient space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system the world has ever seen,” a spokesperson for the NRO described the system. According to sources close to the project, the system would be so extensive that ”no one could hide”. The spy system would consist of low-orbiting satellites able to provide the US military with detailed images of the Earth, and it would also be more immune to disruptions, which the US says especially Russian imperialism would attempt to cause to its satellites. This system would provide information faster and near-constantly compared to old-type of higher-orbiting satellites.

Chinese social-imperialism has its own aspirations regarding the militarization of space, and its own spy satellite network program, and it immediately expressed its concern over ”Starshield” and accused the US of escalating tensions and threatening “global security”. Russian imperialism warned the US that through using commercial satellites for military purposes, these satellites become legitimate military targets.

In one hand, as is highlighted in the mainstream media, Starshield reflects the US asserting its position as the sole hegemonic superpower over Russian imperialism, as well as Chinese social-imperialism, with a massive militarization of space, using the most advanced new technologies. In the other hand, and mainly, corresponding to the main contradiction in the world today, it is spearheaded against the oppressed nations, in order to increase repression against their struggle for liberation, “so that no one can hide” from the all-seeing eye of Yankee imperialism. Here it is necessary to note however that even though imperialists highlight how advanced, how “omnipotent” this technology is, faced with the peoples of the world it is only a paper tiger.

In 2021, the US Department of Defense (DoD) officials said that space-based capabilities are critical for the US and that the US has to be prepared to conflicts which extent to space or even originate there, not meaning that war would be waged in space but that space would play a role in armed conflicts on Earth. In this context, DoD described as the main threat the space aspirations of Russian imperialism and Chinese social-imperialism: “Russia and China view space as critical to modern warfare and consider the use of counterspace capabilities as both a means of reducing U.S. military effectiveness and winning future wars”, DoD principal director for space policy said.

SpaceX is the largest operator of satellites in the world. The first SpaceX satellite was developed under a contract with the US, and its Falcon 9 rockets have been used to transport US military payloads to space. Already before Starshield SpaceX had aspirations to sell its Starlink technology to the US Department of Defense, but what the US imperialism wanted was technology specifically engineered to meet its needs.

SpaceX has already around 5,500 commercial Starlink satellites orbiting the Earth. These provide internet for different actors, and it is used among others by the Ukrainian military for communications. SpaceX sent 22,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine in the first year since the beginning of the war of aggression, and they have played a “significant role” according to Ukrainian military sources. This was the first major conflict where such commercial space technology has been used for military purposes in a significant way and some US experts describe that such integration of commercial space technology for military operations is the “way of the future”. The space played already a role in for example the Gulf war, and satellites are commonly used in warfare and intelligence all over the world, but with the war of aggression against Ukraine the use of a commercial service is noteworthy. According to the CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk, who likes to pretend he is a “scientist” working for the good of the human kind, claims that the terminals were provided to Ukraine for “humanitarian” purposes and not military purposes. In 2023 it was also claimed that Musk ordered some connections to be shut down near Crimea to sabotage a Ukrainian attack against Russian warships because he was afraid of Russia reacting with nuclear weapons. In 2024, the Ukrainian military said it has evidence Starlink has been used also by Russia. The war of aggression in Ukraine has therefore in one hand served to refine the technology for military purposes, and in the other it has shown the capabilities of such technology and the “necessity” of the increasing militarization of space for the imperialists. Therefore it has raised the interest of US imperialism to ensure such technology serves its interests only and can be used extensively for this – and to this the Starshield system answers.

It is claimed that as the costs of launching satellites and rockets to space lower and more and more commercial companies pop up, it “democratizes” the space. This is of course a similar machination as the free competition and “the American dream” under capitalism, that today has reached the stage of imperialism, and the tendency of monopolization and struggle for hegemony is seen also in space and this commercialization of space is used by the imperialists to achieve their interests. It is openly stated by US experts that using commercial technologies for military purposes is the future, and companies are put to develop military technologies in close contact with the US government. Trae Stephens, a principal at Founders Fund, whose investments include SpaceX, said in 2023 that the war of aggression has woken up members of the financial oligarchy to see the potential in military technologies instead of civilian infrastructure. This means deeper militarization of society.

As the general crisis of imperialism develops further and further, it becomes more and more urgent for the imperialists to develop all-encompassing militarization, that even reaches space. Technological advancement is put to serve destruction and the maintaining of oppression, the hegemony of the US imperialism in the world. This is a sign of weakness, and as has been seen multiple times, despite its technological overpower, it has experienced and keeps on experiencing devastating blows from the peoples of the world.

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