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Cybersecurity for satellite and space systems has received much attention of late, and for good reason – an increasing number of space systems are connected to space assets.

Cyber-attacks on space systems are escalating just as space technology is becoming increasingly critical for national security, defense and our way of life.

The threats to space systems are considerable, and include a variety of reasons, such as:

  • A large number of active space systems were designed before space was considered a contested domain
  • The attack surface has widened due to the presence of more satellites and other space assets
  • According to DoD reports, rival nations have a sophisticated knowledge of satellite command and control and space distribution networks
  • More players and complexity have been created through increased commercial space projects

The strategies underway to enhance cybersecurity in space include the movement to designate space systems as critical infrastructure. That would include launch systems, manufacturing plants , on orbit satellites and ground-based communication systems. 

Supporter of this idea argue that the technologies and capabilities in the space sector are unique and not replicated in other sectors of the economy so they should be better protected. 

For example, the propellant that’s made for space is unique. The engines built for space are unique, many of the systems and subsystems built for space launch and space mission systems are not necessarily covered elsewhere. 

The argument for greater space security includes the likelihood that there will be emerging space activities that will continue to be added to the space economy, such as space travel, space exploration, and eventually some manufacturing that will take place in space. 

In June, the chairs of the congressional aerospace caucus Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) introduced the Space Infrastructure Act which directs the Department of Homeland Security to designate space systems, services, and technology as a critical infrastructure sector.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Cybersecurity Principles for Satellite and Space Systems, a 2-day interactive workshop designed to provide a unique learning experience on space and satellite vulnerabilities that are commonly exploited. Participants will discover techniques and strategies for integrating cybersecurity measures into space and SATCOM systems, networks, products and critical missions from the start.

This course is a knowledge-level course designed to provide a knowledge base of Cybersecurity applied to SATCOM. Lessons and exercises taught by subject matter experts will expand the student’s understanding of the space and radio frequency environments, capabilities and limitations of military and commercial SATCOM systems, threats to all segments of SATCOM, planning processes, cybersecurity attacks and mitigation techniques.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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