The Estonian space start-up Spaceit, along with CybExer Technologies and CGI Estonia, signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA). In the framework of the ESA GSTP programme, the consortium of companies is developing a satellite operations simulator with the purpose of advancing cybersecurity. The simulator allows development of satellite communication systems as well as their testing and validation in a controlled environment. The simulator will also improve the cyber defence competence of satellite operators, system administrators and IT security experts.
According to Spaceit CEO Silver Lodi, the contract is highly significant because it marks the first time a consortium of Estonian companies is collaborating with ESA in the field of cybersecurity. "Our shared objective is to strengthen the rapidly growing space sector against cyberattacks," said Lodi. "All parties of the collaboration would like to develop this solution further in the future."
The initiator of the Estonian space cybersecurity programme and expert in space technologies and policy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Paul Liias considers the consortium created under the leadership of Spaceit a good example of collaboration between Estonian companies. "Cybersecurity missions create an opportunity to form consortiums in Estonia, which, in the long term, will also include research institutions and industrial enterprises," said Liias. "Estonian space cybersecurity missions help us to implement Estonian space policy and give local companies the opportunity to participate in the rapidly growing space sector."
Furthermore, other Estonian companies have the opportunity to start improving the cybersecurity of space systems. "The European Space Agency has recently opened up several large-scale procurements related to space cybersecurity and the Estonian Space Office has launched a call for ideas, which welcomes Estonian companies to participate," said Head of the Estonian Space Office at Enterprise Estonia Madis Võõras. "We are hoping to announce the next contract between Estonian companies and ESA soon."
Spaceit provides mission control services to satellite operators. The company has developed a cloud-based mission control system with pre-integrated access to a worldwide network of ground stations, offers professional satellite management, and supportive tools. Spaceit’s solution enables an 80% reduction of a satellite mission's budget.
CybExer Technologies provides cybersecurity services. The company offers software platforms to conduct complex technical cybersecurity exercises to practice defending IT- infrastructure. CybExer Technologies has received the NATO innovation award.
CGI Estonia is the Estonian branch of the CGI Group, one of the biggest IT and business consulting service providers in the world. CGI Estonia has been active in the space sector since 2010. They have developed mission control software and remote sensing solutions for various clients in the public and private sector.
More information on the call for ideas of the Estonian Space Office, which is accepting submissions until 14 December: https://www.eas.ee/euroopa-kosmoseagentuur-ootab-ideid-kosmosesusteemide-kuberturvalisuse-edendamiseks/