From the Editors

clsp12p00_sm-coverCyberspace and cybersecurity are relatively new terms, ones that are increasingly important to all businesses, and space is no exception when it comes to the necessity of protection in this realm. There is no shortage of news stories related to computer hacking, intrusion, theft, and exfiltration into and out of an array of corporate computer networks and their security systems. President Obama has identified cybersecurity as one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation, but one that the government and country are not adequately prepared to encounter.

In many ways, this is a cat and mouse game. As soon as a new method of protection seems certain, computer hackers—some for the pure thrill of it—find a way to circumvent the protections. For this reason, achieving mission resilience—the ability to operate through cyberattacks—has become an increasingly important objective for space systems. This issue of Crosslink focuses on the work being done at The Aerospace Corporation in the realm of cybersecurity. It is meant as an introduction to the field—the issues, challenges, new technologies, and existing and evolving practices—that define the corporation’s mission assurance and mission resilience tactics in this arena.

Like many crises, cyberattacks are ones that businesses cannot afford, and also must be anticipated and prepared for in today’s ever-changing technology environment. Many computer experts state it is not a matter of if, but when and how, these attacks will continue to escalate.

The Aerospace Corporation has since its inception in 1960 been focused on information assurance for its customers. The accuracy of information and its transmission is vital to the warfighter, as is assurance that the information has not been unwittingly shared with unintended parties. The technologies for achieving this have certainly evolved over the years, but Aerospace’s focus in this area has steadily been on how to anticipate protecting space systems and their components for the military and civilians.

Cyberspace, the domain in which computers and their related systems—satellites, ground systems, and networking devices to name a few—operate and communicate, is an area that has taken on increasing significance and focus in the space business. Today, Aerospace has computer systems engineers and scientists closely working these issues with its customers, anticipating future needs, and exploring new and existing technologies in this arena.

We hope you will find this issue of Crosslink as interesting and timely as we do.

Back to the Spring 2012 Table of Contents