Estonian companies help set up a space cyber range

In cooperation with the European Space Agency, Estonian companies are helping create the world’s first space cyber range, which enables companies operating in the field to test their software, conduct training and develop their cyber defence capabilities.

Today, the services and competitiveness of many sectors depend on satellites located in space. But with the development of technology, in addition to traditional sources of danger such as technical errors and collisions of satellites, there are threats in space caused by humans. Therefore, the European Space Agency is paying special attention to possible cyber threats, especially as taking over remote control of satellites becomes cheaper over time.

In order to promote security, two consortia consisting of Estonian companies are developing a concept for a space cyber training ground. The first consortium includes Spaceit, CybExer and CGI, and the second one includes Nortal and Talgen. Foundation CR14, established by the Estonian defence ministry, is also a member of both consortia.

ESA’s Galileo satellite in orbit. Photo by ESA.

“Estonia’s private sector has huge potential in the space sector and the capabilities to provide the cyber range with high-quality content, exercises and data,” Hannes Krause, the head of research and development at CR14, said. “The CR14 team is ready to take the lead in this initiative, relying on more than ten years of technical and contextual experience.”

Estonian companies known by the European Space Agency

Silver Lodi, the CEO and a co-founder of Spaceit, explained that given the growth of services depending on space technology as well as global political tensions, cyber security of space infrastructure is more critical today than ever. 

“The new range should, among other things, allow us to simulate specific space-related environments and potential threats, validate various industry-specific components and processes, and contribute to the development of know-how related to space cyber defence,” he said.

CybExer’s cyber range (the image is illustrative). Photo by CybExer.

Estonian entrepreneurs reach the European Space Agency through the Estonian Space Office at the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency, whose central task is advising entrepreneurs and mediating suitable calls for tenders. 

“In the field of cyber security, Estonian companies are known and recognised by the European Space Agency. This is a strong indicator that a small country like ours has the knowledge and skills to become a leader at a European scale in the implementation of space services, management of threats, development of autonomous robots and ensuring the cyber security of the space sector,” Madis Võõras, the head of the Estonian Space Office, noted.

Cyber range is a virtual environment that enables organisations to simulate cyber combat training, system development, testing and benchmarking. Cyber ranges are simulation platforms for operational teams to train, improve responsive capacity in case of a cyber crisis.

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