News October 27th, 2023
Developing a space cyber range with ESA
We have entered into a strategic partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) to contribute to the development of an innovative space cyber range. As a pivotal member of two esteemed consortia of Estonian companies, we are proud to play a significant role in this forward-thinking initiative.
The space cyber range will provide the companies operating in the field with the opportunity to test their software, conduct exercises and develop cyber defense capabilities.
In the coming years, more than a thousand new satellites will be added to low Earth orbits in space each year, operated, in addition to countries, also by dozens of private companies, as the services and competitiveness of several sectors depend on satellites located in space. However, with the advancement of technology, in addition to the traditional sources of danger, such as technical errors and satellite collisions, a dimension of human-caused threats has also emerged in space. Therefore, the European Space Agency is paying special attention to possible cyber threats, especially since taking over remote control of satellites is becoming increasingly cheaper over time.
To promote security, two consortiums of companies with CR14, the cyber defense foundation of the Estonian Ministry of Defense, are developing a concept for creating a space cyber range that would provide services to satellite operators.
In the coming years, more than a thousand new satellites will be added to low Earth orbits in space each year, operated, in addition to countries, also by dozens of private companies.
Nortal brings to this partnership a wealth of experience in cyber-digital transformation, gained from years of involvement in transforming mission-critical services across various sectors. Our expertise in managing complex, regulated environments, paired with our innovative approach to problem-solving, positions us uniquely to contribute valuable insights and solutions to this initiative.
Martin Ruubel, Head of Cyber Resilience Business Area at Nortal, commented that the space sector is characterized by a unique risk profile from the point of view of cyber threats, which places additional demands on both business models and infrastructure security.
– Martin Ruubel, Head of Cyber Resilience Business Area at Nortal
The space sector is characterized by a unique risk profile from the point of view of cyber threats, which places additional demands on both business models and infrastructure security.
“Space technology supply chains are extremely complex, closed and heavily regulated. In addition, the space industry is a target for cyber operations conducted by states aimed at intellectual property theft, espionage or military interests. Estonia and Nortal are in a unique position with their existing IT, cyber security and defense know-how and startup mentality to offer their services to companies and organizations related to the field in cooperation with ESA, both in the European Union and globally,” he added.
According to Ruubel, the cyber range being created is a good example of the cooperation between the state and private sector taking place in the field and provides an opportunity to test space technologies and processes under controlled conditions, prevent possible problems, practice problem solving and develop the practical skills of the field’s employees.
“Estonia’s private sector has a huge potential in the field of space and the opportunity to fill the corresponding cyber range with high-quality content, exercises and data,” Hannes Krause, CR14 research and development manager, said. “The CR14 team, relying on more than 10 years of technical and substantive experience, is ready to contribute to this initiative.”
The first consortium includes Spaceit, CybExer Technologies and CGI Estonia, and the second Nortal and Talgen. The project is coordinated by the space office of Enterprise Estonia (EAS).
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