The burgeoning commercial space industry needs support from the cybersecurity sector to ensure it can be trusted and resilient, according to Rob Meyerson, founder and CEO at Delalune Space, speaking during the LORCA Live online event.
Meyerson is formerly of NASA in a highly technical role and Blue Origin, where he worked alongside Jeff Bezos to create new business lines in areas such as human space flights. He is now focused on investing in new businesses looking to operate in the space sector, and this includes cybersecurity.
Meyerson outlined how we are already very reliant on space for the running of a number of important services. These includes communication, navigation and timing, weather monitoring and the Internet of Things (IoT). “You can think of these space systems as utilities as part of our critical infrastructure,” he explained.
Additionally, we have now reached a point where it’s possible for space to become a more commercial domain, with businesses able to build on top of infrastructure already developed. This has meant things like the cost of launch and satellites have fallen, offering great opportunities. Meyerson noted: “If you have a great idea you can build a space business, but you don’t necessarily have to invest in building the rocket or satellite.”
Meyerson believes we will soon see products being manufactured in space to improve life on earth, such as pharmaceuticals and 3D bio-printing and in the future, potentially “things being made in space, primarily for space.”
Ensuring this environment is secure is going to become a major frontier for the cybersecurity industry. “You can easily see how important it is for these systems to be trusted,” Meyerson commented, adding that “just like it’s critical here on earth to support healthcare, the financial sector and all the other important sectors that we have, our space sector needs that support of the cybersecurity industry.”
He also observed that different countries view the use of space through different lenses; for example, the US mainly looks at it for exploration and knowledge, whereas in China, it is seen as an opportunity for economic benefit. In this environment, it is likely we will see nation state cyber-attacks targeting the space sector. Meyerson said: “That differing view leads to conflict and we are going to have to find ways to protect these assets.”
In many respects, securing space assets will be no different to that of other areas of the economy, and the “fundamental tools to protect those are very similar,” explained Meyerson. He added: “These assets up in space are being controlled with humans and computers – command and control, data are uplinked and downlinked through networks at ground stations that are distributed around the world. So, the security of these ground systems is critical.”