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Elon Musk's SpaceX lands $2 million Air Force deal for Starlink internet despite FCC's rejection of $886 million subsidy

·2 min read
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk next to rocket launch
Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sends Starlink satellites into space.Yasin Ozturk/Getty Images
  • SpaceX has landed a $2 million Air Force contract to provide Starlink in Europe and Africa.

  • SpaceX has the most well-established satellite network compared to other firms, the Air Force said.

  • It's a turnaround since the FCC denied a $886 million subsidy for SpaceX's Starlink.

The US Air Force has awarded SpaceX a $1.92 million contract for its satellite internet service, Starlink, according to documentation, which Teslarati and The Register linked to in reports.

The development represents a turnaround since SpaceX's US subsidies bid for Starlink was rejected by the federal government last week.

The Air Force said in its contract justification document, cited in the reports, that the deal involves Starlink supporting US military bases in Europe and Africa with fixed-site and portable satellite internet services.

The Air Force's document says Elon Musk's SpaceX has "the most well-established [low Earth orbit] satellite network" compared with other companies which are "still in their infancy."

Other internet providers, including Amazon's Project Kuiper, OneWeb, and Telesat, were not yet capable of providing any broadband network in both Europe and Africa, the Air Force said in the document.

"Starlink is also the only LEO satellite network provider that is currently being used in a contested environment: Ukraine," the document said.

Under the contract, Starlink, which has more than 2,700 satellites in orbit, will support the Air Force's 86th Airlift Wing based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The contract will cover a 12-month period lasting from August until July 2023, per the document. The Air Force also said it expected Starlink to provide up to 500 megabits per second download speed and low latency connectivity.

SpaceX didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

The Air Force's deal was made just as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied Starlink's bid for $886 million in US subsidies. SpaceX was seeking funding for Starlink to provide internet within rural communities in almost 650,000 locations across 35 states.

However, the FCC said in a press release that SpaceX and another internet service firm LTD Broadband "failed to demonstrate that the providers could deliver the promised service."

FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in the release: "We cannot afford to subsidize ventures that are not delivering the promised speeds or are not likely to meet program requirements."

Read the original article on Business Insider