SpiderOak gains SDA OTA for OrbitSecure
The Space Development Agency has awarded SpiderOak, a leader in space cybersecurity software, an Other Transactional Authority agreement to research integration of the company’s OrbitSecure software suite into the agency’s contribution to the Space Force’s Rapid Resilient Command and Control effort. SpiderOak’s end-to-end zero-trust design can enhance the cybersecurity of command and control networks as the Space Force augments its traditional Satellite Control Network with commercial and allied networks, the company announced October 17.
In partnership with the Space Development Agency, SpiderOak will research integrating OrbitSecure software to enable expanded government use of commercial, civil, and allied ground infrastructure. By employing OrbitSecure’s patented variable-trust mechanisms that allow data to travel securely on networks and infrastructure with different owners and variable-security protocols, the project will provide insight into how to attain more resilient command and control.
As its name suggests, OrbitSecure is also purpose-built for the limited size, weight, power, and connectivity constraints of orbital operations, and has been deployed to satellites. OrbitSecure is the zero-trust solution that offers complete ground-satellite-ground spaceflight heritage. SpiderOak demonstrated OrbitSecure on a Ball Aerospace prototype payload in June 2023 and on the International Space Station using Amazon Web Services’ Snowcone edge computing device provided by Axiom Space in July 2023.
SpiderOak’s software secures any type of information transiting in or through space assets at the data level rather than the network level, allowing organizations like the Space Development Agency to securely employ commercial network and ground station options for command and control. This flexibility to dynamically augment the Satellite Control Network with non-government resources securely – called “hybrid-space architecture” – also promises to reduce data latency and achieve greater resiliency against potential cyber and physical threats to satellites.
As a software-only cybersecurity suite, OrbitSecure has demonstrated backward compatibility to existing space systems on orbit. These qualities, combined with its ability to reduce latency, mean the implementation leads to faster, better, and affordable secure communications. The project will complement SpiderOak’s ongoing work on a hybrid-space architecture demonstration for the Defense Innovation Unit that is demonstrating secure hybrid communications across interconnected commercial and government networks.
“The cyber threat to satellites is well documented and the threat of hypersonic missiles is imminent. Flight-proven solutions must be deployed rapidly to improve resilience through cyber-secured commercial ground systems,” said Dave Pearah, CEO of SpiderOak. He added: “Through our innovative use of variable-trust mechanisms, we secure the efficient transmission of commands and other data, improving the responsiveness of space missions. These features are needed today when pacing threats like China are already inflicting damage to government networks.”
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