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Sun Feb 25, 2024, 06:48 AM Feb 2024

Congressman presses Elon Musk to provide SpaceX satellite services for US defense forces in Taiwan, report says [View all]

Source: Business Insider

Feb 24, 2024, 9:51 PM EST

Elon Musk is facing pressure to provide SpaceX's Starshield satellite network to US defense personnel in Taiwan, according to Forbes. Wisconsin GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher, in a letter to Musk first obtained by the outlet, reiterated to the businessman that SpaceX had a contractual commitment to give the US Defense Department the ability to use its satellite communications service.

It is unclear if other members of Congress also signed on to the letter, which was dated February 24, Forbes reported. However, the outlet described a "group of US lawmakers" were involved in the calls for Musk to provide satellite access to US defense forces in Taiwan. The Wall Street Journal, which later reported on the letter, only noted Gallagher's involvement in writing the correspondence.

In the letter, Gallagher, the chair of the House select committee on the Chinese Communist Party, said the DoD is appropriating "tens of millions of dollars" for Starshield, which was designed for government use and utilizes satellites in low-Earth orbit to transmit imagery to military agencies.

The Starshield satellites, designed specifically for national security customers, provide essential internet access in remote locations or those impacted by natural disasters or war zones and have become crucial to Ukraine's battle against invading Russian forces. "I understand that SpaceX is possibly withholding broadband internet services in and around Taiwan — possibly in breach of SpaceX's contractual obligations with the US government," Gallagher wrote in the letter, per Forbes.

Read more: https://www.businessinsider.com/lawmaker-urges-elon-musk-provide-spacex-starshield-us-defense-taiwan-2024-2

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