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The Intersection between Outer-Space Security and Cybersecurity

Written by Éléonore Daxhelet

Edited by Miguel Andres Reyes Castro

Supervised by Paul Dybjer

The concept of space security first appeared during the Cold War, in the context of the space race between the USA and the USSR. Since the 1990s, the number of space actors has significantly increased, including new national, international and private stakeholders. Space technologies, especially satellites, have gained importance for several aspects of everyday life, and are crucial for commercial purposes, public services and military operations. Particularly in the latter case, space technologies represent a major asset for communication, surveillance and planning.

Due to their significance and the possibilities they offer, space assets are attractive targets in conflicts. Anti-satellite weapons, both kinetic and non-kinetic, are being developed and tested to destabilise and counter an opponent’s space activities. These weapons can take the form of cyber-attacks; according to Oakley (2020, p. 155), “the space domain is the perfect place for cyber warfare”. In addition, space assets are particularly vulnerable: “the cyber resilience of space assets is underestimated, and satellites are not sufficiently cyber-protected” (Pražák, 2021, p. 403).