U.S. Air Force satellites get ability to update software quickly to help mitigate cyber security threats

July 21, 2020
Chameleon Constellation satellites may work together to process data from one another, rather than sending data back to Earth and risk interception.

AUSTIN, Texas – If you’ve been using computers for more than a decade, you’ll remember how significant it was when over-the-air updates replaced the need to update software by installing it from a CD-ROM or floppy disk. Not only did it make the process much faster, but it also allowed developers to update software to fix bugs or add new features without the associated costs of distributing a physical product. Digital Trends reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

21 July 2020 -- This might seem a transition that happened eons ago for PCs and mobile devices, but a similar problem still affects today’s satellites. No, no one is flying a single floppy disk update into orbit, but the process of updating satellite A.I. has, until now, taken months to achieve instead of the minutes that most of us are familiar with modern computer updates.

That may have changed thanks to a new partnership between the U.S. Air Force and space and artificial intelligence (AI) company Hypergiant Industries. They are launching an innovative constellation consisting of 24 to 36 satellites that will be updatable in real time.

Being able to update space assets in minutes, rather than months, is a massive step forward for satellites. It will make it easier to defend against emerging cyber security threats, since updates could be rapidly pushed out in the event that a hacker renders a satellite useless by way of malicious software.

Related: Satellite designers must boost cyber security and trusted computing, say experts at Aerospace Corp.

Related: Race to provide global internet service makes cyber security a top priority for commercial satellites

Related: DARPA to brief industry on developing artificial intelligence and cyber security for military satellites

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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