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

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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 Outdated radiation-hardened processors with esoteric instruction set architectures, a lack of capability for rapid security updates and DevOps, and long development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.

Key Activities

September 1, 2020


The Cyber for Space Applications cohort kicked off with eight amazing cyber companies – completely virtual! 

September 1, 2020

Col Eric Felt

Col Eric Felt, Director AFRL/RV, spoke with the cohort about why small businesses are so important to AFRL.

September 30, 2020

Dr. Michele Gaudreault

Dr. Michele Gaudreault, USSF/DST Deputy Chief Scientist, met with the cohort to help make valuable connections. 

November 19, 2020

#CACSA Demo Day

The final event where our eight Cyber companies pitch their technology to a virtual room full of customers, decision makers, and stake holders. 


ANOVA Intelligence is a mission-critical cyber anomaly detection and data analysis software company. Our AI/ML-powered software arms critical infrastructure IT & OT systems with the defensive weapon system, battleplan and intel they require to neutralize advanced persistent threats (APTs).

CyberCentric is a data classification platform. Using advanced artificial intelligence techniques, we enable organizations to know precisely who has access to the organization’s most sensitive data and how that data is being stored in real time.
Astrapi’s Spiral Modulation opens the door to spectral efficiency improvements of 2X or greater, driving wins in data throughput, SWaP, interference mitigation, anti-jamming, and LPD. We do this by for the first time fully exploiting the capabilities of a continuously non-stationary spectrum, bypassing an implicit limitation in classical channel capacity theory. A derivative technology, Symbol Waveform Hopping, provides an advanced approach to LPI at the physical layer and without the latency of encryption. Astrapi will license its technology to established OEMs providing the modems, radios and sensors that support network communications in defense and commercial markets.
Corlina makes data & video intelligence secure and trusted at the edge. At Corlina, we ensure data integrity and operational system security that makes an IoT implementation worthy of Trust. The adoption of edge compute starts with “connected devices,” and Corlina’s System of Trust ensure that billions of powerful edge devices remain secure and reliable, while limiting the impact on edge device performance. The Corlina Trust Platform creates a record of events that establishes an immutable chain of evidence on collected data to certify security and accuracy. It is designed from the ground up to be lightweight and non-intrusive for the most restrictive host environments, with a distributed architecture built for scalability and resiliency. Corlina’s patented Trust algorithm (TrustScoreTM and TrustTokensTM) regularly calculates an immutable signature and key for each edge device that includes the state of the device, its behavior, and its location, ensuring the integrity of the device at a point in time. Corlina provides instantaneous notifications of changes in device state that can be used to validate the overall security and integrity of an IoT system, even across organizations and geographies.
ARMS Cyber Defense is a cybersecurity startup founded by three Vanderbilt alumni all with DoD and government backgrounds aimed at securing the legacy software in the DoD, IC, and US government. Arms Cyber Defense provides a proactive defense-in-depth cyber security solution by utilizing cutting edge micropatching (fixing known vulnerabilities) and code diversifying technologies. We do this by diversifying the code structure (scrambling the code structure, think radio frequency hop or whack-a-mole) so each application has a different code structure with no latency to the user. Adversaries will no longer have the ability to craft one exploit that can propagate throughout DoD/IC/Government systems because each application will now have a different code structure.
DornerWorks helps product makers turn their ideas into reality through technological innovation. The Virtual Machine (VM) Composer is the “easy button” that takes away the pain of configuration, construction, and deployment of multi-operating systems using the formally proven, open source, seL4 microkernel. The VM Composer enables developers in a variety of markets to leverage the power of virtualization in their embedded products, realizing the many cost and capability benefits this technology brings, while relying on the high assurance, bug-free hypervisor to provide rock-solid separation and isolation between software stacks.

Using our innovative technologies, a new space industry can be created – space based Data Centers.
Since late 2015, we have been perfecting our proprietary, patent pending photonic method of data storage which puts data in a constant state of perpetual motion. Achieved through the use of ultra-high bandwidth lasers, data now moves in an endless circulating loop.
LyteLoop’s revolutionary “storage in motion” technique will transform how data is stored while providing a myriad of unique and customizable advantages based on the desired LyteLoop application deployed. LyteLoop now makes it possible to harness the power of light to store huge amounts of data in spaced based Hyperscale Storage Data Centers.

At Vitro, our mission is to replace subjective claims of authority with the objective authentication of secret and secure IoT operating data. Trusted automation relies heavily on authentic real-world data inputs. Vitro Zero-Trust IoT secures remote IoT devices and data (scanners, sensors, scales and meters), then serves authenticated IoT data via a Zero-Trust Broker to trusted automation, including: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Digital Twins and Blockchain Smart Contracts. Vitro Shard mini PCI express cards make IoT connectivity and data authentication autonomous and modular. Vitro Crystal gateways make open, scalable IoT networks simple and secure to provision and operate.

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