SpaceX is building a network of hundreds of spy satellites under a classified contract with the US intelligence agency. This was reported by Reuters, citing knowledgeable sources.

According to them, it is a $1.8 billion contract signed in 2021 with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), a part of the country’s intelligence system that manages such satellites. The satellite network is being built by SpaceX’s Starshield business unit.

“The plans show the extent of SpaceX’s involvement in U.S. intelligence and military projects and illustrate a deeper Pentagon investment into vast, low-Earth orbiting satellite systems aimed at supporting ground forces,” the media outlet writes.

According to the sources, if successful, this program will greatly enhance the ability of the US government and military to quickly identify potential targets almost anywhere in the world. The sources added that the contract opens a new chapter in the use of Starlink satellite communications in the war in Ukraine.

In February, The Wall Street Journal reported on the existence of a classified $1.8 billion Starshield contract with an unidentified intelligence agency, without detailing the program’s goals.

So now, for the first time, it is revealed that the SpaceX contract is for a new powerful spy system with hundreds of satellites capable of imaging the Earth and acting as a swarm in low orbits, and that the agency is the NRO.

It is not yet clear when the new network of satellites will be launched. Other companies involved in the program are also unknown.