The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working to apply its Cybersecurity Framework to the ground-based segments of space operations, an April 18 NIST report says.

NIST developed the report in response to the 2018 National Cyber Strategy, which said that the United States government “considers unfettered access and freedom to operate in space vital” to national security and is concerned about “cyber-related threats to space assets,” the report’s executive summary says.

“Space operations are increasingly important to the national and economic security of the United States,” the report’s abstract says. “The U.S. Government recognizes and supports space resilience through numerous space policies, executive orders, and the National Cyber Strategy. The space cyber-ecosystem is an inherently risky, high-cost, and often inaccessible environment consisting of distinct yet interdependent segments.”

While the report applies the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to the ground segment of space operations, it also emphasizes applying the framework to the command and control of satellite buses and payloads.

The document provides a framework that it says is flexible and allows for stakeholders to use the framework to manage risks to their infrastructure. The document also follows the United States Space Policy Directive 5, which established cyber principles to guide the protection of space assets.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.