Babbage: How Elon Musk’s satellites could change warfare forever

SpaceX’s Starlink was designed to provide off-grid high-bandwidth internet access to civilians. But the mega-constellation of satellites has become more famous for its role in Ukraine. In 2022, it became vital to the country’s war effort, revealing the military potential of near-ubiquitous communications. Now, with more companies and countries piling in to build their own mega-constellations, a new space race is on.

Shashank Joshi,The Economist’s defence editor, and Tim Cross, our technology and society editor, examine how the satellites have saved Ukraine and changed warfare. Aaron Bateman of George Washington University explores the military history of satellite communications. And Herming Chiueh, Taiwan’s deputy minister for digital affairs, explains why the threat from China has led the island to pursue its own Starlink-like satellite system. Alok Jha hosts.

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