Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink satellite internet service has successfully completed a rigorous nine-month testing period with the U.S. military in the Arctic. Passing the military trials opens the door to Pentagon contracts for the billionaire’s space company.
Bloomberg reports that SpaceX Starlink has emerged as a valuable asset in the realm of military communications following its successful completion of extensive U.S. Air Force tests in the Arctic. This achievement paves the way for potential Pentagon contracts, potentially enhancing the strategic communications infrastructure in the increasingly competitive Arctic region.
The series of tests, which concluded in June, were focused on evaluating Starlink’s effectiveness in meeting the Pentagon’s operational needs in harsh Arctic conditions. Brian Beal, a principal engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory, confirmed that Starlink provided “reliable and high-performance communication,” particularly in on-the-move scenarios, despite challenging environmental conditions including high winds and extreme cold.
Starlink’s success in these tests is critical given the strategic importance of the Arctic, a region where the U.S. is keen to expand its influence in the face of growing competition from Russia and China. The Arctic’s challenging climate and remoteness have historically limited communications capabilities, a gap that Starlink’s portable terminals are well-positioned to fill.
Additionally, the Air Force is also evaluating London-based Eutelsat OneWeb for similar capabilities in the Arctic, with its testing phase set to conclude in the coming months. The success of these tests represents a significant advancement in military satellite communications, offering faster and more reliable options for strategic operations.
Musk’s Starlink has played an important role in the Ukraine war, to the extent that Ronan Farrow described the tycoon as having “shadow rule” over the conflict.