#CACSA | Cyber for Space Applications

Problem Statement

How might we apply cyber technologies to secure the next generation of space operations and increase resiliency?

As hardware and software become increasingly integrated in the form of cyber-physical systems, a new and unique set of cybersecurity threats present themselves. Current research acknowledges that the challenge of keeping cyber-physical systems secure is fundamentally different from the conventional IT security problems of yesteryear (The Cyber Security Body of Knowledge, Cyber Physical Systems Knowledge Area, 2019). The introduction of real-time constraints, automated and autonomous operations, novel sensors and robotics, networking of devices in the IoT, and complex embedded software all enable highly innovative products with increasingly broad attack surfaces. While the notion of “hacking a car” might have sounded absurd twenty years ago, it is now a demonstrated possibility.

With both the public and private sectors rapidly innovating in space, next-gen satellites now resemble cyber-physical systems. Operating a cyber-physical system in space, however, brings with it an additional set of unique challenges. Outdated radiation-hardened processors with esoteric instruction set architectures, a lack of capability for rapid security updates and DevOps, and long development timelines outpaced by rapidly-evolving threats are unfortunately today’s status quo in the domain of space cyber-physical systems.

While terrestrial cyber security technology development creates a foundation to extend existing solutions to celestial applications, space systems come with unique characteristics that may require adaptations from existing strategies or radically new approaches to the problem. Therefore, the US Space Force is seeking bold and disruptive approaches to security for space cyber-physical systems and operations.

Topics of Interest

  • How could Zero Trust be used in space?
  • How could penetration testing be done on real satellites? How could pen-testing be done on models of satellites?
  • How could modeling and simulation of satellites and space systems be used to improve their security?
  • How could AI and ML be applied to cyber anomaly detection, signal processing, and threat response?
  • How could SDN and network automation be used to better secure and improve space communications?
  • Are there new protocols or coding techniques that would improve the security?
  • How can we dissuade/prevent adversaries from data exfiltration?
  • How can we ensure data integrity?
  • Other disruptive technologies related to or benefiting space cyber resiliency.

Cohort Participants

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Astrapi web
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CyberCentric Website
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Corporate Sponsor

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Platform Sponsor




Commercial Sherpas

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General Dynamics Information Technology
Lockheed Martin Web
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*Note—The Catalyst Accelerator operates in compliance with all COVID-19 regulations; therefore, aspects of the Cyber for Space Application Accelerator session are subject to change according to state requirements.

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