New Dawn for Space Security


  • Jordan Plotnek University of South Australia
  • Jill Slay University of South Australia



critical infrastructure, cyber threat, resillience, satellite, space security, space weap


Space infrastructure provides vital services for a number of critical industries, including; defence, transportation, energy, utilities, emergency services, banking, environment, academia, and others. These services range from global communications to remote sensing and geolocation, with many new applications undoubtedly on the horizon, including plans for further exploration and even human settlement. It is therefore essential that space technologies are protected from unwanted interferences – a task that is becoming more challenging by the day. Adding to the already complex space security environment, we are experiencing the beginnings of a second space race that is seeing the rapid deployment of space systems containing a vast array of new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced onboard processing. This is subsequently introducing new vulnerabilities to an already aged and vulnerable satellite ecosystem, hence increasing the risk of potentially catastrophic security events. Although well-articulated in political, legal, and international relations literature, the engineering, science, and technology aspects of space security are currently under-studied and disjointed, leading to fragmented research and inconsistent terminology. This paper examined space security from an engineering perspective by conceptually tying existing space and security literature together to detail the space threat landscape and identify research gaps and opportunities. Additionally, this paper identifies the need for wider recognition of space systems security as a specialist inter-disciplinary domain in order to break down disciplinary silos, enhance collaboration, and unify definitions, taxonomies, and research objectives.