Securing Space Missions with Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA)

By: B. B. Gupta, Asia Universiy,Taiwan

Security is of the utmost importance in the high-stakes field of space exploration. Cybersecurity is an essential part of every space mission because it ensures the safety of mission-critical equipment from both inside and outside interference. This is where ZTA, or “zero trust,” comes in. The Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is a cybersecurity architecture that operates on the presumption that no user or device, regardless of location within the network, can be trusted by design. This article will go through how Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) may be used to make space missions safer.

What is Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA)?

Security in a Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is based on the premise that nothing is automatically trusted, regardless of where it comes from or who made it. Instead, ZTA uses contextual criteria like identification, behaviour, and risk assessment to verify and authenticate every request, transaction, and communication. Each user and piece of hardware needs its own distinct identifier, and access should be allowed according to the principles of least privilege and need-to-know for ZTA to work.

  • Network segmentation, in which the network is partitioned into several zones and traffic is segregated and examined in accordance with predetermined rules and regulations.
  • All operations are tracked and evaluated in real time for abnormalities and dangers.
  • Security policies are created and enforced at every tier and in every component of the system via policy-based enforcement.

Why is ZTA essential for space missions?

The spacecraft, ground stations, communication networks, and data centres that make up a space mission are all intricately interconnected and diverse systems in and of themselves. All of these parts work together, sharing information and instructions through a variety of protocols and interfaces. Furthermore, radiation, severe temperatures, and vacuum all have a role in reducing the efficiency and longevity of electronic equipment in space missions.

More than one group of people, including governments, businesses, and even international organisations, may have a hand in a space mission’s success. Vulnerabilities and inconsistencies in the mission’s security posture might result from these parties’ varying security needs, rules, and standards.

The ZTA solution to these problems is a unified and adaptable security architecture that can keep up with the evolving risks and requirements of space exploration. There are several advantages that ZTA may provide.

  • ZTA’s ability to give a 360-degree picture of all devices, people, and applications associated with the mission paves the way for continuous real-time monitoring and analysis of all operations, greatly improving both visibility and control. In addition to decreasing the attack surface and limiting the effects of security events, ZTA may also impose granular access restrictions and regulations.
  • By separating mission-critical components and data and providing backup and redundancy procedures, ZTA ensures the operation can resist and recover from cyberattacks. As an added bonus, ZTA can provide speedy incident response and cleanup, cutting down on cyber events’ downtime and damage.
  • ZTA can offer auditable and traceable records of all security-related occurrences, making meeting regulatory and contractual responsibilities possible. By tracing the origin and scale of security events, ZTA may also help with responsibility and attribution, paving the way for investigations and judicial proceedings.


The greatest standards of safety, dependability, and security are essential for space missions because of their importance and complexity. Traditional security methods may need to be revised to guard against the cybersecurity risks that threaten the success and integrity of space operations. By offering a flexible and all-encompassing security architecture based on identification, segmentation, monitoring, and enforcement, Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is a potential method to tackling the cybersecurity concerns of space missions. ZTA has the potential to improve the scientific and economic outcomes of space missions by increasing their transparency, reliability, and accountability.

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