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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”.

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« We are delighted to start working with CYSEC and to have the opportunity to test their product ARCA to secure our mission control software. This collaboration will allow us to offer ground segment solutions with fully integrated cybersecurity which will become the new standard. Not only for future institutional missions but also for newspace missions.”

Catherine Praile
Mission & Control Business Unit manager

“The EGS-CC software representing the next generation of mission control systems for European space missions, it is important for us to demonstrate the compatibility with our product ARCA. We will prove that adding security does not mean adding complexity and, on the opposite, contributes to the success of the mission by mitigating cyber risks.”

Mathieu Bailly
VP Space activities

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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