Securing the democratization of Space

Space is one of the largest upcoming challenges on the horizon. According to Gartner, space is considered one of the seven digital disruptions that will change our markets in the coming years and something that CIOs should investigate. The combination of space observations and telecom-enabled Internet of Things will be important to create digital twins spanning multiple environments, including cities, countries and ultimately the Earth. These developments will enhance all space-based applications — from transport and environment to agriculture and territorial management.

As the global space economy reaches $348 billion, 37% of this is contributed by the many applications found in mega-constellations of satellites in low earth orbit. These satellites are about to revolutionize the telecommunications industry, earth observation and national security, among others.

Space is the next frontier

We believe that space is the next frontier for multiple industries, and we are already witnessing the rise of space companies racing to launch satellites. In January 2021, SpaceX set a new record by launching 143 small satellites with a single rocket. The evolution of rocket technology makes it easier and less expensive to launch satellites today, costing about $20 per kg payload for conventional launches.

The access to rocket technology is no longer restricted to governmental and military organizations and the gates have opened to new companies. However, being in space does not mean that satellites are safe. These devices can also be hacked and must be secured. That’s why in 2020, the US Air Force launched the “Hack-A-Sat” challenge to understand their vulnerabilities better and to launch future trustworthy operations.

In addition, in this ecosystem satellite signal integrity becomes critical. The main interferences that we believe pose a threat to signal integrity are:

Rogue uplink stations

Jamming a wide range of frequencies

Interfering foreign broadcasting station

Jammed TV signals

System network architecture

These can be unintentional, due to user error or cross-polarization leakage — but they also could be deliberate acts such as unauthorized transmissions or done out of geopolitical motivation. So, how do we protect against these threats in space?

Enhancing space security – today and in the future

As the sky becomes crowded, there is an imminent need to transform the space journey into a secured mission. Companies and space agencies need specialized expertise to maximize the benefits between the digital world and space.

SkyMon, our satellite monitoring geolocation solution, is the only single-satellite geolocation product on the market. Our spectrum monitoring aims to detect and mitigate interference in space by providing high-quality communication and geolocation to the desired quality. Our solution and space situational awareness enables monitoring to avoid collisions in orbit and predict atmospheric re-entry trajectories.

Your trusted partner in your journey to space

Aside from SkyMon, Atos provides a range of solutions and products in the space domain to ensure that our customers’ satellites achieve their desired lifetime. Our ready-to-deploy solutions include:

On-the-ground satellite testing, which makes us the #1 player for satellite testing in Europe. Atos satellite testing helps satellite and payload manufacturers test and simulate the electrical characteristics (from low to high voltage) of the satellite platform and the payload while it is built.

Space data processing and analytics aim to grow our clients’ business based on data taken from space. Atos is one of the leading data and information access services (DIAS) providers. No matter which industry, we believe that satellite data can give our clients the edge they need to scale their businesses.

Space Command and Control provides efficient mission control with fully automated operations. Ground segments are usually designed and built specifically for each mission with no real consideration for reuse except development frameworks and scientific libraries — resulting in complex long-term projects. Space Command and Control helps satellite manufacturers propose a rapid and cost-effective command control center based on a large set of generic software components designed for reusability.

We also provide embedded space flight software comprising a set of generic software and hardware building blocks for satellite manufacturers, space agencies, new space start-ups and primes. It also supports space engineering for advanced quality control, PLM, digital twin, predictive maintenance and additive manufacturing.

Ensure mission success

In the space industry and other mission-critical activities in homeland security, manufacturing, defense and the energy sector, taking the right decisions under pressure is critical. It requires a system that assists the decision cycle in “reflex time,” from sensor detection to processing communication and display. With humans in the decision loop, there is a fine line between staying informed and information overload.

Therefore, Atos has developed a whole line devoted to mission-critical systems, with deployment combining field sensors, advanced processing, professional communications and applications – sometimes at the scale of entire countries. When human life is at stake, technology must be resilient and responsive to enable coordinated decisions.

About the author

Hans-Martin Steiner

CTO Space & Avionics

Hans Martin Steiner is currently CTO of Space & Avionics at Atos IT Solutions and Services GmbH Austria and as such responsible for the global product and solution portfolio of the space and avionics business activities of the multi-national Atos company. Hans is a Computer Scientist by education. His professional career started in the late eighties in the telecom sector. Soon after he switched to the newly formed Space Business Unit of Siemens. He had various management posts at Siemens in the space domain, particularly, he was several years on-site manager of Siemens space activities at ESA/ESRIN in Frascati/Rome. In 2007 he took over the position as Director of Siemens Space and in 2013 he became Vice President of Siemens Space. At the same time Siemens Space and other units were carved out of Siemens to become Siemens Convergence Creators, a 100% subsidiary of Siemens. In 2018, after the acquisition of Siemens Convergence Creators by the Atos Group, Hans assumed his current CTO position.

Hans is Managing Director of Austrospace, the Association of Austrian Space Industries, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).

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