Course NameLength
Certified Space Security Specialist Professional (CSSSP)5 days
Fundamentals of Positioning, Navigation and Timing | PNT Training2 days
Space Mission Systems Engineering Training2 days
Space Systems Engineering Fundamentals2 days

Space Operations and Cybersecurity

Satellites are just as cyber-vulnerable as any other technology – especially now in the new digital satellite era.

While NASA is most commonly associated with space operations, eight U.S. federal organizations have space budgets, including the Defense and Energy departments, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey and others.

These agencies use satellites in a variety of ways such as telecommunications in globally dispersed work forces, up-to-the-minute information on natural disasters or armed conflicts, research on population growth and density, awareness of weather patterns and more. Satellites provide a global, wide-lens perspective that can be invaluable to the government.

Then there’s the emergence of LEO satellites, which provide agencies with additional advantages because they move at a quicker rate and have lower latency due to their location in orbit, which helps agencies communicate more quickly to citizens and warfighters.

Regardless of the mission, all contemporary satellites have one salient commonality: They have a complex structure and the various systems and programs required for operation—navigation, communications channels, onboard sensors, power generators—create a vast attack surface.

Our culture has entered a new era where the task of securing outer space and cyberspace has converged.

A particular vulnerability is that satellites are increasingly using software-defined functionality that can be reprogrammed in orbit. This means they need greater levels of technical security controls so they cannot be hacked for nefarious reasons. This is expensive, with some satellite companies now claiming they are spending more money on cyber protection than they do to operate the satellites themselves.

Another significant weaknesses common to all satellite systems is the use of long-range telemetry for communication with ground stations. The uplinks and downlinks are often transmitted through open telecom network security protocols that are accessed by cybercriminals rather handily.

And of course, IoT devices (powered by 5G advances) that make use of satellite communications pose additional potential points of entry for bad actors.

Most cybersecurity professionals today advice organizations – both corporate and government – to focus on securing all points of entry in all matters involving space operations.

The space sector is unique in the field of cybersecurity. It is an industry where civil, commercial and military applications seamlessly coexist, creating a haphazard situation for cybersecurity experts and telecommunication engineers.

Over several years there has been substantial interest in the issues of cybersecurity and space security but the general consensus is that far too little attention has been paid to the combination of the two security problems.

This was in large part the reasoning behind the return of the DoD’s Department of Space Command in 2018.

Cyberspace operations can and do create effects across the battlespace—both directly and indirectly. Clearly, cyberspace can no longer be thought of in terms of terrestrial, internet protocol-based networks.

While much is riding on the security of telecom satellites, nowhere is satellite security more important than for military operations. During wartime, the greatest risk is to lose operational foresight and be unable to rely on data that comes through space. Receiving false or fake information could result in giving an advantage to the adversary.

And potential adversaries are on the rise. It’s now believed that countries like countries like China and Russia have a diverse menu of cyber options from which to choose, including hacking that disrupts the functioning of hardware, command intrusions, denial of service attacks and outright hijacking of systems supporting space operations.

A dozen nations have developed some level of space capability and have used it to launch satellites into space. The importance of satellites make them a critical part of any nation’s infrastructure and attacking those satellites a strategy that most nations need to consider.

Space Operations and Cybersecurity Courses by Tonex

Space Operations and Cybersecurity training programs focus on priorities to assist space systems and combat readiness. Our training programs, courses, seminars and certifications provide space technologies and operational capabilities, operational missions of spacelift, satellite communications, EO-IR sensor capabilities, AI and sensor fusion, missile warning and space control.

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC),  Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT), EW, SIGINT, MASINT, Ground-based radar, Space-Based Infrared System, Defense Support Program satellites, Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, PAVE Phased Array Warning System and Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack radars, Optical Tracking Identification Facility, Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System, Passive Space Surveillance System, phased-array and mechanical radars provide primary space surveillance coverage.

Our Space Operations and Cybersecurity Courses — like all of our courses — are taught by top instructors with expertise in their areas as well as real world experience.

Need a course tailored to your needs? We can do that. Just let us know how we can assist you.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.