team up on a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to test the protection of mission control software on a satellite simulator

The European Space Agency (ESA) awarded a contract to Spacebel (Prime contractor) and CYSEC (subcontractor) to test the secure deployment of the latest generation of European mission control software on a satellite simulator. 

Cyber threats on satellite systems are more and more of a concern and are becoming a reality for satellite operators, as the recent attack on the commercial satellite Ka-Sat showed.

Because cyber-attacks targeting space systems are rooted from the ground, either during the development phase of the satellite or during its operation, it is critical to improve the protection of the ground segment and in particular the mission control center.

The mission control center hosts all the critical operations such as sending and receiving the telemetry and telecommands which are used to control the satellite once in orbit. Cyber-attacks on the mission control center can be dramatic for the mission and lead to many catastrophic scenarios.  

Unfortunately, until recently cybersecurity is a topic that has been largely under-investigated by civil satellite operators, which were focusing on maximizing the duration of the mission rather than its resilience against cyber threats.

ESA control
Image by the European Space Agency (ESA)

CYSEC is pioneering end-to-end cybersecurity products for space missions and has launched the first generation of its ARCA Trusted Operating System (OS) in space in January.

On ground, this 11-month project with Spacebel will test on a satellite simulator the deployment of the European Ground Systems – Common Core software (EGS-CC) in the ARCA environment.

The goal of the two partners is to commonly address the needs of future missions in which cybersecurity will have to be “baked-in”.

About Cysec

CYSEC SA is a data security company headquartered at the EPFL Innovation Park in Lausanne, Switzerland, whose mission is to shorten the time-to-market of innovative services by facilitating their integration into a trusted IT environment. In order to achieve its mission, CYSEC developed “ARCA”, a confidential computing platform protecting software applications manipulating sensitive data. CYSEC focuses on the provision of its cybersecurity solutions in four vertical sectors, namely financial services, IoT, space and telecoms.

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