SpaceX has won its first Starshield contract from the U.S. Space Force. Starshield is a defense-oriented version of the Starlink satellite internet service.

The U.S. Space Force has expressed interest in increasing its satellite Internet capabilities. Starlink is likely particularly attractive because it uses the “distributed” architecture of many thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit. Having so many assets in space, rather than a few fancy satellites, means that the overall system is more resilient to enemy attacks.

The satellites will be delivered to low Earth orbit using launch vehicles.

Starshield is supposed to support U.S. national security through Earth observation satellite and communications through end-to-end encryption and additional “cryptographic capabilities.” The deal is for a year, and the maximum contract costs are $70 million.

To recap, SpaceX earned $1.4 billion in 2022. However, the initial forecasts were 11 billion higher.