The cybersecurity of space systems is a growing concern, given their complexity and critical role in supporting Earth’s infrastructure. However, the lack of industry-wide standards poses a significant challenge.
A multitude of actors within the space community share the need for a standard. At the ASCEND 2022 conference, over 40 co-authors published a Call to Action, emphasizing the importance of addressing this issue.
To ensure consistent cybersecurity practices and global safety, it is crucial to establish comprehensive regulations and standards for space systems. The complexity of space missions and the need for international cooperation further amplify the urgency for harmonized rules.
To address this challenge, five subcommittees will collaborate on developing a comprehensive standard. They will define cybersecurity requirements, identify threats and vulnerabilities, and recommend appropriate controls and countermeasures for each segment of a space mission.
The development of the Space Systems Cybersecurity IEEE Standard will involve a comprehensive process that spans multiple sub-committees working under the direction of the Working Group. The first step in this process will be defining common terms and vocabulary to ensure a consistent understanding of technical concepts across all parties involved in developing the standard.
The following step will be a gap analysis to identify areas where current standards and practices fall short in addressing the cybersecurity challenges specific to space systems. This analysis will help to determine the cybersecurity requirements and guide the development of adequate cybersecurity controls and countermeasures.
To leverage existing knowledge and avoid reinventing the wheel, a study of existing standards that could be useful and relevant to the current situation will be conducted. Similarly, existing best practices will be linked to the gap analysis to identify potential solutions that can be implemented in the new standard.
Once the best findings are identified, they will be implemented and harmonized through new research and the members’ cooperation in developing the standard. This process will be carried out at the working group and sub-committee levels to ensure that the final standard reflects the expertise and contributions of all involved parties.
The outcome of this process will be a single standard that connects and implements the work of each sub-committee. This standard will provide technical guidance on the cybersecurity of space systems and ensure consistent cybersecurity practices across all space industry sectors. By developing a comprehensive and practical standard, the space industry will be better equipped to address the cybersecurity challenges specific to space systems and safeguard critical infrastructure and people worldwide.
SCOPE and SUBCOMMITTEES
- The Space Segment subcommittee is responsible for defining the cybersecurity requirements for satellite payloads, including communication, imaging, and other systems. It will also address the cybersecurity challenges related to orbital positioning systems such as GPS and Galileo and onboard computer systems. This subcommittee will ensure that a mission’s space segment is secure from potential cybersecurity threats.
- The Link Segment subcommittee is responsible for addressing the cybersecurity challenges related to communication systems between the ground and space. This includes ground-to-space communication systems, such as antennas and transceivers, and space-to-ground communication systems. The subcommittee will also address the cybersecurity requirements for data encryption/decryption systems to secure data transmissions between the ground and space.
- The Ground Segment subcommittee is responsible for addressing the cybersecurity challenges related to ground-based systems. This includes ground stations, command and control systems, data processing systems, network infrastructure, and cybersecurity systems such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems. In addition, the subcommittee will work to ensure that the ground segment of a mission is secure from potential cybersecurity threats.
- The User Segment subcommittee is responsible for addressing the cybersecurity challenges related to end-user devices and ground-based communication systems. This includes satellite phones, tablets, base stations, towers, and other software applications such as navigation and remote sensing. The subcommittee will ensure that a mission’s user segment is secure from potential cybersecurity threats.
- The Integration Layer subcommittee is responsible for addressing the cybersecurity challenges related to the integration of all segments of a space mission. This includes application programming interfaces (APIs), data links such as Ethernet and USB, and integration and testing systems such as simulators and emulators. The subcommittee will work to ensure that the integration layer of a mission is secure from potential cybersecurity threats and that all mission segments work together seamlessly to achieve mission objectives.