Russia warns spying with SpaceX satellites makes them a target


Russia said that it knew about US intelligence efforts to use commercial satellite operators such as SpaceX and cautioned that such moves made their satellites legitimate targets.

Reuters reported this month that SpaceX is building a network of hundreds of spy satellites under a classified contract with a US intelligence agency, demonstrating deepening ties between Elon Musk's space company and national security agencies.

"We are aware of Washington's efforts to attract the private sector to serve its military space ambitions," Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.

Such systems "become a legitimate target for retaliatory measures, including military ones," Zakharova said.

SpaceX floated the idea of a military-only program called Starshield in late 2022, when the war in Ukraine revealed Starlink’s importance in modern warfare.

Space security experts Cybernews has talked with in the past has long said that Russia could potentially target commercially operated satellites.

“If you look at the history of warfare, civilian and private assets and infrastructure have always been targeted when the intensity of the political object of the war is sufficient. Satellites are conceptually and politically no different,” Dr. Bowen, an associate professor of International Relations at the University of Leicester and expert on strategic theory in outer space, told Cybernews in February 2023.

Moreover, Moscow targeted Viasat’s satellite communications network hours before the invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022. However, the attack focused on on-the-ground terminals.


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