US-Russia tensions: How Elon Musk’s SpaceX may be a ‘legitimate target’ – Times of India

Amid the tensions with Washington, Russia has said that it knows about US intelligence efforts to use commercial players such as SpaceX for making spy satellites, a report said, adding that Moscow has cautioned that such moves will make their satellites legitimate targets.
“We are aware of Washington’s efforts to attract the private sector to serve its military space ambitions,” news agency Reuters quoted foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying.
Such systems “become a legitimate target for retaliatory measures, including military ones,” Zakharova added.
SpaceX may be making spy satellites for US government
Russia’s ‘caution’ comes a few days after the news agency reported that SpaceX is building a network of hundreds of spy satellites under a classified contract with a US intelligence agency.
Citing five sources familiar with the program, the publications reported that SpaceX’s Starshield business is building a spy satellite network under a $1.8 billion contract that was signed in 2021 with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an intelligence agency that manages spy satellites.
The sources said that if the project is successful, it will “significantly advance the ability of the US government and military to quickly spot potential targets almost anywhere on the globe.”
Meanwhile, the NRO confirmed to the news agency about the existence of the mission to develop a sophisticated satellite system and its partnerships with other agencies and companies.
“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 was quoted as saying.
Reportedly, about a dozen prototypes have been launched since 2020 aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, three of the sources were quoted as saying.

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