SpiderOak demonstrates OrbitSecure on Ball Aerospace payload
On June 22, SpiderOak, a provider of zero-trust cybersecurity and resiliency software for space systems based in Shawnee Mission, KS, announced the successful achievement of flight heritage through the deployment and demonstration of its OrbitSecure platform in space. SpiderOak conducted rigorous testing of its end-to-end data security solution on a Ball Aerospace prototype payload currently operational in low-Earth orbit (LEO).
“Successfully operating any military system in an operationally relevant environment is always a big milestone. In the unforgiving environment of space, there is no stronger validation that a system is ready for deployment,” stated retired four-star U.S. Air Force General and member of SpiderOak’s Space Advisory Board Ellen Pawlikowski. “I am thrilled with SpiderOak’s achievement!”
The payload incorporates Ball Aerospace’s Open Software System (BOSS) framework, supporting containerized applications that can be modified on-orbit, as well as real-time data processing functions. Through close collaboration between SpiderOak and Ball Aerospace teams, the OrbitSecure technology was seamlessly deployed to and integrated into the Ball hosted payload while on orbit, demonstrating that data level zero-trust can be achieved on deployed systems despite the size, weight, and power limitations in space.
“This successful demonstration completes a major milestone in advancing OrbitSecure as the satellite operator’s choice for data security and resiliency in space,” stated Dave Pearah, CEO of SpiderOak. “While other cyber solutions have only been demonstrated terrestrially, this achievement with Ball Aerospace proves our unique COTS (commercial off the shelf) software works equally well on orbit as it has on the ground for many years.”
“The Space Force has openly acknowledged the ever-expanding cyber threats targeting space assets,” said, Jake Sauer, vice president and chief technologist, Ball Aerospace. “This successful demonstration of SpiderOak’s OrbitSecure technology onboard Ball’s hosted payload, which launched earlier this year, is a step towards fortifying the resilience of our space ecosystem.”
Taking zero-trust security to zero-gravity environments, OrbitSecure leverages a unique combination of no-knowledge encryption and distributed-ledger software to meet the unique demands of cybersecurity in space. OrbitSecure overcomes the constraints of traditional hardware-based protections utilizing a new, fully decentralized key management system allowing for full availability and continued operations in space despite disconnected or highly contested networks.
“On-orbit tests underway by Ball Aerospace of SpiderOak’s OrbitSecure offer the promise of an efficient path to secure space systems based on blockchain technology,” stated Samuel Visner, vice chair, board of directors, Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center. “Cybersecurity solutions for space systems must respect the space, power, weight, and cost constraints under which these systems operate. I look forward to the results of this first, on-orbit demonstration of SpiderOak’s cybersecurity approach. It’s also exciting that SpiderOak is a member of the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center, demonstrating the center’s commitment to encouraging our country’s space sector to explore cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions.”
OrbitSecure’s software-based approach makes it quickly adaptable to counter new and evolving cyber threats while providing enhanced decentralized space resiliency to multi-vendor, multi-network, mesh proliferated low-Earth orbit networks. Dramatically reducing a space operator’s attack surface with OrbitSecure disrupts any adversary’s attempts to counter, modify, or contest space communications and satellite services. Though rigorously tested in flat sat environments by industry leaders such as Raytheon, Northrop and Lockheed Martin, the Ball Aerospace announcement represents the first time a partner has successfully deployed the OrbitSecure capability in space.
The prototype payload launched in January as the first mission in Ball Aerospace’s rideshare program, part of Ball’s focus on the rapid and affordable development and demonstration of technologies on orbit.
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