The use of secure open architectures, flexible data frameworks, and DevSecOps has allowed space agencies to become more scalable and adaptable. Open architectures allow for open data to be processed, analyzed, and shared, while DevSecOps ensures ongoing security and flexibility. These elements can be integrated into any system, allowing for unprecedented capabilities and the ability to plug in the latest innovation.
Terrestrial stations offer the opportunity for the fastest modernization, as software, algorithms, and AI can be added to add new functionality or correct problems. Open systems are made possible through advanced cyber, cloud, and AI technologies, providing interoperability and the ability to rapidly test, implement, and update elements from any partner. Standard APIs and industry-standard formats can be used to ensure data remains free, even in older ground stations.
Open architectures offer advantages like:
- The use of open data platforms and interoperable systems enables the Department of Defense (DOD) to integrate technology from both traditional partners and startups. This allows for the immediate implementation of innovative solutions from various sources.
- By utilizing a coordinated DevSecOps approach, faster and more dependable innovation can be achieved through automated deployments, standardized processes, and automated security scans. For instance, Booz Allen developed a tool suite that enabled data scientists to securely create, train, and deploy machine learning models for a mission-critical national system.
- Microservices architecture facilitates modular modernization by allowing for the integration of multiple advanced technologies like AI and ML into workflows. GPU technology can then be used to incorporate AI and ML into the system. Booz Allen demonstrated the effectiveness of deep reinforcement learning in enhancing collision avoidance and optimizing satellite scheduling.
- To ensure advanced space cyber defense, cloud-native technologies are used to integrate security features from the beginning. These include standardized approaches to ensure data provenance and integrity, encryption to protect network connections and data, and zero-trust security that reduces human error and adds resilience against cyber attacks. Cybersecurity protection safeguards the intersection between IT and the satellite system, mitigating operational technology vulnerabilities.
Modularity to Address Multiple Challenges
Once a space organization transitions to an open-architecture framework, the door is open to any innovation partner with a good idea. The time to implement a new technology for a changing mission can be reduced from months or weeks to as little as hours or even minutes. Agile solutions can be rapidly at work for objectives like these:
- The design of many U.S. satellites currently in orbit was based on the belief that space was a sanctuary safe from attacks. However, these satellites are now vulnerable to threats such as anti-satellite missiles, lasers, jamming devices, and cyber attacks. To address this, new software can be updated on-orbit, and smart analytics can alert operators to potential attacks. Attack assessment and self-healing architectures can also ensure that a space mission’s continuity is maintained even after an attack.
- AI can be implemented at any point in the mission to enable intelligent and coordinated space-based information gathering, which is essential for command and control. This allows for faster generation and sharing of intelligence insights and integrated initiatives like Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2).
- As the world becomes increasingly reliant on satellite services, overcrowding in space becomes a growing concern. By utilizing modern algorithms to process sensor data from partners worldwide (such as radar, visual, and infrared), more precise locations can be determined, and forecasts and automated courses of action can be optimized for split-second decisions. Open architectures can be leveraged to conquer today’s challenges and stay ahead of future threats and challenges.