Elon Musk Pressured to Supply Starshield Satellites for US Defense in Taiwan

Elon Musk is under scrutiny to allocate SpaceX’s Starshield satellite network for US defense personnel in Taiwan, as reported by Forbes. Wisconsin GOP Representative Mike Gallagher, through a letter to Musk initially disclosed by the media outlet, emphasized SpaceX’s obligation to furnish the US Defense Department with its satellite communication services.

The involvement of other Congress members in this appeal, dated February 24, remains uncertain, though Forbes mentioned a “group of US lawmakers” advocating for Musk to grant satellite access to US defense forces in Taiwan. The Wall Street Journal’s coverage highlighted only Gallagher’s role in authoring the letter.

Gallagher, leading the House select committee on the Chinese Communist Party, highlighted in the correspondence that the Department of Defense is allocating “tens of millions of dollars” towards Starshield. This network, tailored for government clients, leverages low-Earth orbit satellites to relay imagery to military bodies.

Starshield satellites, aimed at serving national security needs, are pivotal for providing internet connectivity in isolated or conflict-impacted regions, playing a significant role in Ukraine’s defense against Russian invasion. “It appears SpaceX might be restricting broadband internet services in Taiwan’s vicinity, potentially violating its contractual agreements with the US government,” Gallagher mentioned, according to Forbes.

Musk has openly discussed the strained Taiwan-China relations, suggesting in 2022 that the dispute could be resolved by designating Taiwan as a “special administrative zone,” akin to Hong Kong.