- RHEA Group has been awarded the second phase of the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Threat Risk Assessment on LEO Satellite Constellation project (TRALEO‑2).
- The 18-month TRALEO-2 project will support the development of cyber-resilient ground and space communication tools, performing security test cases on emulated MicroSat missions using RHEA’s cyber-range platform CITEF.
- Cyber mitigation approaches developed in TRALEO-2 will be validated in orbit in a follow-up project, TRALEO-3.
In partnership with GOMspace, one of the leading providers of small satellites in Europe, and in close cooperation with ESTEC’s Radio Frequency Laboratory, RHEA will support the second phase of ESA’s Threat Risk Assessment on LEO Satellite Constellation project (TRALEO-2). TRALEO aims to gain insights into the end-to-end cyber resilience and security of a low Earth orbit (LEO) SmallSat/nanosatellite space mission in order to detect and mitigate cyber threats in existing missions and to enhance cybersecurity in future SmallSat and nanosatellite constellation missions.
TRALEO Phase 1 (TRALEO-1), which has been successfully completed, was part of a feasibility study associated with a network level communication threat risk assessment (TRA), including visualization of the data packets transmitted in the communication links of the ESA CubeSats GOMX-4A and -4B. Within TRALEO-2, RHEA will perform security test cases on emulations of GOMX-4 space and ground segments using RHEA’s cyber-range platform. Through this in-lab testbed approach, RHEA will be able to refine and analyze for vulnerabilities, examine potential threats associated with those vulnerabilities and evaluate the resulting security risks. Risk mitigation solutions will then be proposed on a series of threats using a selected set of the communications links.
Pascal Rogiest, Acting Managing Director of RHEA Group’s Cybersecurity Division, said: “RHEA’s cyber-range expertise is a perfect fit for this important project. The unprecedented ‘hardware in the loop’ architecture using MicroSat space and ground components from GOMspace are integrated in a network where attacks are generated at physical / RF level, leveraging on RHEA cyber-range technology, CITEF.”
Antonios Atlasis, ESA Technical Officer, added: “As the rise of New Space activities demonstrates, many actors are planning to procure multiple satellites in the coming years. But a secure solution is a prerequisite to de-risk the projects by avoiding potential threats to those assets such as unauthorized control of the spacecraft, interception of sensitive data or even jamming that may interfere with data communications.”
Initial customers for the TRALEO solution will be nanosatellite operators seeking to secure data and communication transceivers in their satellite networks. In future, this service can be extended to all kinds of payloads, such as geostationary and middle Earth orbit satellite networks, and it is expected that the security solutions developed through the TRALEO solution will be employed to secure the space data marketplace for governments, institutions and private actors.
Following TRALEO-2, TRALEO Phase 3 (TRALEO-3) will consist of a live in-orbit demonstration of the cybersecurity technologies developed in TRALEO-2, with the objective of validating and qualifying the proposed security solutions analysed in TRALEO-1 and -2.