Space-based services are a natural part of our everyday lives. These range from communication to navigation and on to provision of security and scientific data gained from remote sensing or from more basic space research. The increasing interconnection between space flight systems and their corresponding infrastructure, with numerous corresponding services and uses, makes it increasingly important to secure the availability and dependability of the entire system. Utilization of this system, consisting of the ground elements (control center and operations), transportation segment (rocket technology), space segment (satellite technology and payload), and the customer segment (services and applications), should also be optimized.
Munich Aerospace is almost ideally set up to provide the breadth required of the research spectrum. In the key project “Safety in Orbit”, the partners examine various aspects that ensure reliability and a high degree of accessibility of space-based services. These include for instance the acquisition and removal of space junk and securing continual and autonomous operation of satellites, especially with respect to susceptibility to malfunction and failure related to cosmic radiation. The considerations are not limited to the space element, but include to the same degree aspects of access, resistance to malfunction (for example jamming, spoofing), authentication, encryption, and integrity of satellite signals for both communication and navigation.
The research conducted is an important contribution to ensuring that society will be able to continue to use and rely on the dependability of space-based services and applications in the future, even as systems become more and more complex. Such research efforts are in particular highly relevant for future security applications, for example satellite-based flight control, surveillance of crisis and regions struck by disaster, and protection of infrastructure and borders, because such applications require absolute data and signal continuity and reliability.