NORAD wants $ 80 million to test SpaceX and OneWeb in the Arctic

Washington — US Northern Army leaders are demanding $ 80 million to continue testing SpaceX and OneWeb’s low-Earth orbit satellite Internet services. We believe this can solve the military’s Arctic communications problems.

American fighters use a combination of private and government-owned satellites for global communications, but their infrastructure begins to thin slightly above 65 degrees north latitude. The availability of satellites above the 70th parallel is very limited, and the US military and sensors in the Arctic remain much less connected than other military forces.

However, a new generation of low earth orbit satellites designed to provide commercial broadband could help fill that gap. Services such as SpaceX’s Starlink and OneWeb are built to provide Internet access from orbit to anywhere on Earth using constellations made up of hundreds of satellites.

Last year, NORTHCOM and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) joined Congress. $ 130 Million on Funding Priority List In essence, it is a list of items that did not meet the Pentagon’s annual budget requirements and is intended to be investigated using these two constellations for Arctic communications.Made it possible to raise funds SpaceX and OneWeb Contract Award For full-scale testing.

Currently, NORAD and NORTHCOM commander Glen VanHerck are demanding $ 79.8 million on the unfunded priority list for the 22nd fiscal year obtained by Defense News to continue its efforts. The funds will also be used to test prototypes of new terminals that can connect to multiple commercial constellations. This is a feature described in the Space Force’s Combat Satellite Communications Vision.

In the long run, Northcom suggests that this investment could allow operators to cover more polar regions with communications satellite constellations.

According to the unfunded priority list, SpaceX plans to launch 10 Starlink satellites into polar orbit in January and more than 100 more this summer. OneWeb told C4ISRNET in May that it had launched 182 satellites with plans to cover the Arctic Circle by the end of 2021. In general, commercial service contracts and terminals will require additional funding after FY2011. Said it would be.

Defense News reporter Joe Gould contributed to this report..

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