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JAXA’s cyber threat.

JAXA comes under cyber attack. The US Army integrates space and cyber into its doctrine. US and Saudi Arabia begin talks on space cooperation. And more.




Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) faced a significant cyber threat, though specifics about the timing and methods remain undisclosed. The U.S. Army has integrated space and cyber operations into its new multi-domain operations doctrine. The US and Saudi Arabia have begun negotiating a Framework Agreement for Cooperation in Aeronautics and the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Novelist CK Westbrook.

You can find out more about CK’s work on her website.

Selected Reading

Japan space agency hit with cyberattack, rocket and satellite info not accessed- Reuters

With formalized MDO doctrine, Army turns focus to space, cyber: Official- Breaking Defense

Joint Statement from the United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Intent to Cooperate in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes

India in Talks With Boeing, Blue Origin For Space Partnerships- Bloomberg

York Space Systems Achieves Historic Milestone, Successfully Demonstrates First Ever Link 16 Technology from Space on Tranche 0 Spacecraft

Telesat Government Solutions Awarded DARPA Space-BACN Phase 2 Contract

SpaceX Acquires Parachute Maker Pioneer Aerospace for $2.2 Million

SpaceX Announces a Starship Version Two is in the Works - Payload

The Most Expensive Space Missions in History

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>> Alice Caruth: It's no secret that we at N2K have a strong interest in cybersecurity and space. Our company's been working in the cybersecurity domain for the last decade and we see that the space community has finally seen the need to protect its assets in space and on the ground from cyber attack. It's a tricky topic. Many in the space community, myself included, have buried our heads in the sand when it comes to discussing cybersecurity. We just want to launch things up. Who thinks about how to protect it once the operation is in motion? Well, someone should, as we're about to find out.

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>> Alice Caruth: Today is November the 29, 2023. I'm Alice Caruth. And this is "T-Minus."

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>> Alice Caruth: JAXA comes under cyber attack. The U.S army integrates space and cyber into its multi domain ops doctrine. U.S and Saudi Arabia begin talks on space cooperation. And our guest today is novelist C.K. Westbrook on her sci fi series. Stay with us for Maria's chat with the author to find out how her series relates to space.

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>> Alice Caruth: On to today's intel briefing. Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency known as JAXA recently faced a significant cyber threat. The exploitation affected network equipment vulnerabilities, though specifics about the timing and methods remain undisclosed. The incident appears to be isolated to information technology. Fortunately the breach did not compromise critical rocket and satellite operational data. This resilience highlights the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in safeguarding sensitive aerospace technology, especially operational technology. The incident came to light through an external tip off followed by an internal probe. JAXA's discretion on the informer's identity and the attacker's details underscores the sensitivity and ongoing nature of the investigation. Japanese media reports suggest that the cyber attack occurred in the summer with the police alerting JAXA this fall. This delay raises questions about the detection and response times in such high stake scenarios. The attacks are a stark reminder of the increasing cyber threats facing the aerospace sector. It underlines the need for continual vigilance and advanced security protocols to protect against such breaches which have far reaching implications for national security and technological advancement. The incident at JAXA while concerning serves as a testament to the agency's preparedness and response capabilities in the face of evolving cyber challenges. And on to other space and cyber news. In a strategic shift, the U.S army has integrated space and cyber operations into its new multi domain operations doctrine. This evolution builds on the air land battle doctrine extending into satellite communications and advanced cyber operations. Key areas affected will likely include targeting operations and large scale training exercises at the combined arms training center. This update reflects a broader trend in modern warfare recognizing the critical roles of space and cyber. Training will now encompass simulations that blend physical human and informational dimensions preparing soldiers for a digitized battlefield. These moves position the army to effectively confront contemporary security challenges across land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace. The U.S and Saudi Arabia have begun negotiating a framework agreement for cooperation in aeronautics and the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes in accordance to the Jeddah communique. The nations intend to hold technical discussions on potential cooperation activities. The U.S and Saudi have stated that they share a mutual desire to enhance cooperation involving commercial and regulatory development, responsible behavior in outer space, and space security. They say this effort could promote opportunities for collaboration between respective commercial space industries. And speaking of collaboration, India is considering partnerships with U.S aerospace companies Boeing, Voyager Space, and Blue Origin. According to a statement released by India's department of space, these potential partnerships may extend to include Indian commercial entities. And India's space research organization released a statement following another day of meetings with NASA administrator Bill Nelson announcing a plan to launch a joint remote sensing satellite for Earth observation known as NISAR in the first quarter of 2024. The space agencies have been working on the NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Mission since 2019. It will be the first radar of its kind in space to systematically map Earth. NISAR is reportedly the world's most expensive Earth imaging satellite with a total cost estimated at 1.5 billion U.S dollars. York Space Systems has successfully demonstrated its link 16 technology from space on its Tranche 0 satellites. In collaboration with the U.S Space Development Agency under combatant command, this achievement marks a big development in advancing space based communications for instantaneous global reach. According to the press release, the Tranche 0 satellites full duplex link 16 communication capability represents a historic leap forward in space based communication, ushering a new era of 21st century all domain war fighting. Telesat Government Solutions, a subsidiary of satellite operated Telesat, has been awarded the phase two contract of the Defense Advance Research Project's Agency or DARPA space based adaptive communications node program. My goodness. That's a lot of words. The aim of the program is to connect space which will in turn help enable the Department of Defense Joint All Domain Command and Control Initiative. This award is a follow on from the phase one contract given to Telesat Government Solutions in August of 2022. Telesat did not release the contract value with the press release. SpaceX is buying Pioneer Aerospace which makes the parachutes that help the company's Dragon rockets return to Earth. According to a Florida bankruptcy filing, SpaceX will pay $2.2 million for Pioneer whose parent company recently filed for bankruptcy. It's a rare acquisition for Elon Musk's company. And the first instance it paid a reported 524 million U.S dollars for satellite startups formed in 2021 in a bid to expand its Starlink satellite network. And speaking of SpaceX, the company says it's working on a second version of its Starship super heavy. We're just days on from the latest Starship test which was largely successful, but Musk's company has already got plans for improvement. Not new news for a space company to think about how it would do something better. We'll be keeping our eyes on [inaudible] to see if the fourth iteration of the star ship that's already waiting for launch is the last of the version that we see in flight. And that concludes our briefing for today. Stay with us for Maria's chat with novelist C.K Westbrook. You'll find links to further reading on all the headlines that I've mentioned in our show notes or at space.n2k.com and click on the episode title. Hey, T-Minus crew. If you find this podcast useful, please do us a favor and share a five star rating and a short review in your favorite podcast app. It will help other space professionals like you find the show and join the T-Minus crew. Thank you. We really appreciate it.

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>> Alice Caruth: Our guest today is novelist C.K Westbrook. C.K is an environmentalist that uses her creative writing to explore narratives in the space industry she believes that we should be paying attention to like space debris. Here. Here. We join her chat with Maria as she explains her book series.

>> C.K. Westbrook: It's called the Impact Series. It's made up of three books. The first is "The Shooting," and that was published in March of 2022. Book two "The Collision" was published in September of 2022. And then "The Judgment" was published in March of 2023 and that's book three and that's the entire series. However there's a fourth book that's going to be published in March of 2024 called "The Aftermath" and it's in the same world, but it's a standalone novel.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's exciting. Okay. So we are a space podcast so I'm very curious what -- there's -- I know there's a space connection in your work. Without giving the whole thing away, because I know you want people to read it, do you want to give us like the pitch for maybe the arc of the story and also a bit about the space connection in there?

>> C.K. Westbrook: Science fiction traditionally has some kind of a catastrophic event. It could be an out of control mushroom, Skynet, terminators, a comet. Something huge and catastrophic happens. In my series it's kind of unique. The catastrophic event is when almost every gun owner in the world turns their weapon on themselves in a terrifying 15 minute window. Changes everything. Total global catastrophe. Hero rises up. She has to figure out how on Earth could that happen. Why? And can she prevent future violence? So that's basically the premise of "The Shooting." And it's very suspenseful. It's like one day after the shooting, two days after the shooting, three days because everything is just in pure chaos. "The Collision" which is book two has a collision in it. And I will -- it's not really a spoiler, but it's Kessler syndrome. It is a collision in space. And it kind of triggers a lot of horrible things that happen. And then book three is "Judgment." And it's like who's judging who. Who caused this catastrophe? And that's -- without going into too much detail and giving too much away, that's the arc of the series.

>> Maria Varmazis: On our show we tend to cover things like space debris and Kessler syndrome and it makes sense that it's an area that's ripe for exploration in fiction. And I'm curious. Can you tell me a little bit about maybe what attracted you to it? What made you go, "Oh, yeah. That's something I definitely want to write a novel about"?

>> C.K. Westbrook: I'm an environmentalist by -- that's what I do for my professional life. And I work on pollution all the time. So it's water pollution, air pollution, climate change, biodiversity extinction crisis which of course is caused by pollution. And space debris to me is just pollution in space. So and I, you know, grew up in Florida. I grew up new Kennedy Space Center. I've always been intrigued by space. And kind of heartbroken to learn that we've kind of taken our tendencies to leave our waste and not clean up after ourselves and get caught up in whatever we're doing being oil and gas drilling or mining or enjoying plastics until we look around and go, "Oh, my gosh. What has happened?" There's a huge amount.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yes.

>> C.K. Westbrook: And then it's like, "Well, who's going to clean that up?" And often we don't pay attention to it until it's hurting people. And, as you know, space debris is on the brink of causing some kind of a catastrophic problem either to satellites or to the International Space Station which has already had to move a few times. I mean this stuff moves at, what, 1,000 miles per hour? Or more. And it's like we need to -- or it's going to hit an astronaut now that we have a lot more tours and then people going into space. So we're on the brink of some kind of a catastrophic -- and I know you cover it. The press covers it. But I don't think the American public has really understood how dangerous it really is and how catastrophic it can be to our satellites, our communication. All kinds of things. Military. And I -- so I feel like the scientists, the brilliant people, the intellectuals, they know what's going on. But they're not really doing anything about it. Right? But then I -- so I feel like putting it into entertainment, putting it into science fiction, might get it out to a broader audience that this is a potential huge problem. And again being an environmentalist pollution, pollution, pollution. It's almost the same concept. It's the same thing. It's just in space.

>> Maria Varmazis: I think that's a very good point. And when I think of space debris and I think of how -- I have some examples in my head of comic books, TV shows, novels that have done a really good job of talking about space debris, but you're right. It hasn't really been picked up as much by the general public as an issue. What do you think that works like yours can sort of tell the general public and teach us? And what do you hope people kind of come away from after reading your work?

>> C.K. Westbrook: There's a lot of themes in these books. Gun violence is definitely one of them which I put into the category of things that we think make us safe that don't make us safe. And then how we kind of undervalue things that make us safe. So it's kind of the way we think about things. Space exploration is super exciting right now. I mean so much has been happening in just a few years. And I think people are kind of caught up in the sexy fun of it and without thinking about the ramifications, the consequences, what makes us safe, what doesn't make us safe. And I hope that they will think about it in terms like we were just discussing that air, water, biodiversity, nature, healthy sustainable ecosystems, a climate resilient world, is very foreign to our existence and our happiness. Right? And that we should kind of think about space in the same zone and that we need to start being more conscientious. I, an environmentalist -- I'm a pro regulation person. I'm like we need to put in regulations. We need to make people responsible for going up to prevent space debris and to clean it up. We know that if you don't get ahead of it, it can get out of control. Some people might say it's already out of control. And also punish. There has to be consequences to the actions that are severe enough to make industry and governments not do it. Again we have learned from our previous mistakes when we kind of let the oil and gas industry do whatever they want. Mining. Oh, because we need it. Right? Just like space. We use the same thing. We need the technology. We need our quest to learn. This will be -- this will bring minerals back. It will make things better. That's always been the excuse for allowing people to just kind of abuse and exploit resources and then leave a mess. So I'm hoping that these books help people make this connection and then articulate their concerns that we need to address this.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yeah. I think that's a really interesting point. I feel like there's often something missing in the conversation about our responsibility to our planet including space that happens, as you mention, because space is very sexy and like it's a very interesting technical challenge. But there's an element of like the ethics are not really discussed and also what does that mean in terms of humanity and what do you think creatives can bring to that conversation? Like yourself. Like you also have an environmentalist point of view which is also extremely important. Through your creative work you can explore a lot of hypotheticals that, you know, maybe people who are really heads down in the technical side of things aren't thinking about.

>> C.K. Westbrook: That was a really good question because again struggling with this issue in the environmental world the problems are so big, they're so far away, space couldn't be much more far away, for regular Americans, how can you be concerned about it? The creative thing, the storytelling, is to make people, characters -- you know, Sinclair Jones is an astrophysicist in the book and I want people to care about him. And when you're writing creatively you can do that. Right? You can make people get vested in Kate, vested in Rex, vested in these characters. And then when these terrible things happen, and good things happen, people can put them in their place and see that whereas when I just think you're reading, you know, a newsletter or article in the newspaper I don't think people can make that personal connection. Because when you're reading a story that you love people, you know, end up loving the characters or hating them which is okay too because there's bad guys. And I feel like that is why the creative artistic side is super important dealing with every single issue. Like I've said I've got gun issues. It's got the feminism. It's got like how we allow wealthy people and powerful people to make decisions that they should not necessarily be making because they're not doing it in the best interests of the collective. Right? They just basically want to make money. And even in the space industry it's just like early on -- early on in the environmental issue. You hear these brilliant people talking about efficiency, making money, getting profit. How do we do this to make a profit? And that's like frightening because any time you just put money ahead of everything you're right. Other things become less important. And going back to it, in the books one of the characters -- because all the characters represent different things. Right? Talks about how she doesn't want to live in a world without whales and sea turtles and trees and grass. And there's decisions that get made about where people are going to go. And I think that's important too to remember what do we value about Earth so much. And even when you hear these people like, "Let's go to Mars." Like well the first thing I'm going to do is figure out how to get enough oxygen up there. Then we've got to bring trees. Then we have to bring things that will make people happy like food. And where are we going to get all these natural resources? And it's always, "Well, from Earth" which we're already struggling to keep in a sustainable way because of our abuse and exploitation from pollution and from population and from wars and from profiteering. So it's kind of like the whole same thing. And again just making characters think about these things and hopefully people will care about the characters and that's where I think art and creativity comes to the table with big problems.

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>> Alice Caruth: We'll be right back. Welcome back. So the NISAR system is a whopping 1.5 billion U.S dollars and it's got me thinking about the cost of space missions. We all know that they're super expensive and historically were even more so. But what are the most expensive space missions that have been conducted to date? So let's start back in the 1960s with a small program known as Apollo. You may have heard of it. It costs NASA a mere 25 billion U.S dollars to get human space flight up and running. The program started in 1961 with the first Saturn 1 and was retired shortly after the 12th man walked on the moon with the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. $25 billion back in the 1960s amounts to an inflation adjusted cost of around $257 billion today making the Apollo program the most expensive lunar space program to date. Now I'm going to add that to date as NASA's currently working on the Artemis program which will return humans to the moon in the coming years. The latest audit stated that the Artemis missions will have topped 93 billion U.S dollars by 2025 which includes billions more than originally announced in 2012 as news of delays and cost increases plague the lead up to Artemis 1. The SLS rocket represents 26% of that cost, a tune of 23.8 billion. So human space flight programs are obviously more expensive than an Earth observation program like NISAR, but what about a space observation program to compare it to? Well, let's have a look at the Hubble telescope, a joint NASA ISA program that launched in 1990 and is expected to continue for another decade. Hubble has cost 16 billion U.S dollars to date, but has exceeded its original lifespan of 15 years. James Webb which is the NASA, ISA, and Canada joint mission has a price tag of $10 billion, but was only launched in 2021. It's the largest and most powerful space telescope to date and is expected to be in operation for at least 10 years. All these billions of dollars are enough to make me weep into my cuppa. The business mind on me even wants to question the ROI, but I'll leave that up to you to decide.

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>> Alice Caruth: That's it for "T-Minus" for November the 29, 2023. For additional resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com. We'd love to know what you think of this podcast. You can email us at space@n2k.com or submit the survey in the show notes. Your feedback ensures we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead in the rapidly changing space industry. N2K's strategic workforce intelligence optimizes the value of your biggest investment, your people. We make you smarter about your team while making your team smarter. This episode was mixed by Elliott Peltzman and Tre Hester with original music and sound design by Elliott Peltzman. Our executive producer is Brandon Karpf and I'm Alice Caruth. Thanks for listening.

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