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#Winning with NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program.

NASA innovation program funds six grants. DARC’s domain awareness needed now! Roscosmos @ Baikonur in question. Interview with Dr. Diane Janosek. And more.





NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program gives $600k grants to six. DARC’s space situational awareness needed stat! Future of Roscosmos at Baikonur in question. Interview with NSA Deputy Director of Compliance Dr. Diane Janosek on her research on nanosatellites and what they mean for the proliferation of Internet of Things devices. And more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our first guest ever on T-Minus is… friend of the show Dr. Diane Janosek, Deputy Director of Compliance at the National Security Agency. 

She joins us to discuss nano-satellites, IoT, and cybersecurity for space systems.

Follow Diane on LinkedIn.

Selected Reading

Free Event: From Surviving in Space to Thriving In Space: Closing the Human Factors “Technology Gap”

New photo reveals extent of Centaur V anomaly explosion | Ars Technica

Virgin Orbit's would-be white knight and a $200 million rescue that fell flat | Reuters

Pulverizing dangerous asteroids, building an observatory on the moon and more: 6 wild ideas catch NASA's eye | Space.com

'Absolutely critical' to get DARC space situational system to Australia: Space Forces Indo-Pacific head | Breaking Defense 

To Deter Attacks in Space, US Needs Resilience—and an 'Offensive Threat,' Experts Say | A&SF Magazine

More context: ‘Lower the Rhetoric’ on China, Says Milley | Defense One 

More more context: SDA’s Tournear ‘Just Not’ Afraid of Satellite Shootdowns. Supply Chain Is the Greater Worry | A&SF Magazine

Sunset For Baikonur? A Contract Dispute With Kazakhstan Flashes Warnings For Russia's Legendary Spaceport | RadioFreeEurope 

Port Canaveral seeks solutions to broker smooth cruise and space relationship | Orlando Sentinel


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>> Maria Varmazis: Shoot for the moon, kid. No, actually, go further than that. You've got to have big ambitions to drive technological advances after all, and that's why NASA is giving six organizations up to $600,000 each over two years to help drive innovation in space. Today is April 10, 2023. I'm Maria Varmazis. And this is T-Minus. More on NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program. Space situational awareness via Dark is an urgent need. The future of Baikonur is in question. Plus, my interview with NSA Deputy Director of Compliance, Dr. Diane Janosek, on nanosatellites and what they mean for the proliferation of Internet of Things devices. All this and more, so don't miss it. Six organizations have received $600,000 grants each in the second phase of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts or NIAC Program, which started in 2011. The NIAC awardees, and some of them are from private enterprises and others are from academia, as we mentioned at the top of the show, are all in their second phase of this program, meaning they got seed funding from NIAC in Phase I, and now, they have the green light and funding to keep going. The NIAC Phase II projects include initiatives for planetary defense, a lunar far-side radio array, solid-state propulsion for advanced air mobility vehicles, Quantum Rydberg Radar for surface, topography, and vegetation, and a radioisotope electric propulsion system that could enable exploration of, in scientific research in the outer solar system. Wow! We've got the full list of the grantees in our show notes. Go check them out at space.n2k.com. From the Space Situational Awareness Department now, according to Breaking Defense, Indo-Pacific, Brigadier General Anthony Mastalir, Commander of Space Forces Indo-Pacific, says getting space situational awareness radar systems quickly online in Australia is "absolutely critical." One of the situational awareness systems in question is the deep space advanced radar capability, also known as Dark, which will become the largest space-tracking radar system in the world when it comes online. Dark will have the ability to globally track spacecraft in geosynchronous orbits, GEO, and unlike current ground-based systems, it will be able to track targets in daylight and in any kind of weather. The Dark system will have three ground sites set up globally, with the first being, as we mentioned in Australia, with a target of 2025 for its build. The second and third site locations haven't been confirmed exactly, but we know they'll be in Europe and the US. Dark has been contracted out to Northrop Grumman for $341 million by US Space Force Systems Command. For Mastalir, it's specifically China's own space capabilities that give Dark's mission extra urgency. Says Mastalir, "What worries me most is China's use of space to complete the kill chain necessary to generate long-range precision strikes against the maritime and air components scheme of maneuver. That's what concerns me the most." Meanwhile, you might recall last week, we covered the US Space Force's concerns for more resilient space systems. Namely, they're worried about space system, cyber security, and the satellites supply chain. Meanwhile, anti-satellite tests or the concern that an adversary will try to shoot down, or otherwise, physically disable a satellite on orbit, don't seem like they're worth it to an adversary given the proliferation of satellites in Low-Earth Orbit or LEO. But not everyone shares that view. Last week, experts and leaders met at the Mitchell Institute's Spacepower Security Forum, and there, retired general Kevin Chilton, former Commander of Air Force Space Command, said this, "The whole idea of proliferation, of disaggregation, is the defensive part of the deterrence question. And history teaches that that's never enough witnessed the Maginot Line. So I think it's part of a deterrence strategy. But that deterrence strategy also needs to have the offensive threat to signal to the adversary to deter them from attacking." The Maginot Line mentioned there, if you're not a World War II history buff, putting it very bluntly, it was a wall that the French built to keep the Germans out that very famously didn't. It's basically shorthand for an expensive defensive project that doesn't work and lulls you into a false sense of security. Ouch. And because it really bears repeating, in late March, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said this regarding the discussion of military readiness regarding China, "I'd prefer to go back to what Teddy Roosevelt said, which is, you know, speak softly, carry a big stick sort of thing. So have our military really, really strong, and lower the rhetoric a little bit with the temperature. In other words, everybody be smart, but also, please, cool it a little bit." A fascinating story out of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty today about the future of Roscosmos' use of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Apparently, there's a contract dispute between Roscosmos and a Kazakh company that's building a new launch facility at Baikonur called the Zenit-M. The new Zenit-M launchpad is necessary for Russia's next-generation Soyuz-5 rocket, which is the replacement for the existing Proton-M rocket. And Russia has promised Kazakhstan that it will phase out the use of the Proton-M at Baikonur by 2025, primarily, because of Kazakhstan's concerns about safety and environmental issues. Each side is claiming unpaid debts from the other. And authorities in Kazakhstan have seized Roscosmos' main operators assets as part of their claim. It's a slow burn of cascading issues and delays. And there are serious doubts about how long Baikonur can hang on amidst all these troubles. Bart Hendrix, an expert on the Soviet and Russian Space program, said this in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, "I think the future of Baikonur looks very bleak. Soyuz-5 looks like the only project that can keep Baikonur alive beyond 2030. So if these recent events would jeopardize the future of that project, then yes, that would be a big deal." If you've ever watched a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, only to see it scrubbed by a boat string just a little too close, Port Canaveral CEO, Captain John Murray, says they're working on updating, at least, some of those no go zones with the Coast Guard. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Murray says in Port Canaveral conversations with the Coast Guard, they realized the safety zones hadn't been updated since the 1950s when every third rocket fell into the ocean. So now, they've refined those safety zones, particularly, the Falcon 9's, which is like standing at the end of a runway watching a 777 go up. You're not worried that it's going to land on you. And since it's Monday and news does happen over the weekend, it's worth repeating this little tweet from our friend, Elon Musk. "Starship is ready for launch, rocket emoji, awaiting regulatory approval." In the meantime, Starship fans, please continue to hit Refresh on the FAA launch license page, and hope for good news. Now, that's it for today's headlines, and today's selected reading on our episode page over at space.n2k.com. Don't miss Eric Burger's latest in Ars Technica. There's a photo of the United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur V anomaly explosion last week. And it's a flaming mushroom cloud. It's quite dramatic. Definitely, check it out. And a story from writers on how the last ditch effort to save Virgin Orbit went completely sideways. Both are great stories. Check them out at space.n2k.com. And coming up after the break, my interview with Dr. Diane Janosek, Deputy Director of Compliance at the National Security Agency, where we get into her research on the use of nanosatellites and the security of Internet of Things devices. Don't miss it. It's really not that much of an exaggeration to say that the Internet of Things or IoT devices have really changed the way things work since they came on the market. Being able to remote control house lights or peek into your door camera from anywhere in the world is pretty cool. And if you're living in an area without terrestrial data access, and you want to use an IoT device, or say if you're like a researcher who wants to record data in a very remote or harsh part of the world, getting what you need from an IoT device is all thanks pretty much to satellite internet. And as more, and more places in the world get access to the internet via satellite, and as satellite broadband amps up capacity and speed, it's a cycle. We'll also see more IoT devices coming on board. But as with anything hooked up to the internet, there are security risks there. So let's dig into that a little bit more with Dr. Diane Janosek, who conducted her PhD in cyber security on space security and nanosatellites.

>> Dr. Diane Janosek: My name is Dr. Diane Janosek. I currently work for the National Security Agency for the Department of Defense as a senior executive. But I am, I'm talking here in my personal capacity on my research that I did for my PhD in cyber security with space security. And I just love the space, literally. So I'm so excited that you asked me to come talk to you today, Maria.

>> Maria Varmazis: So yeah. Thanks, Diane. So as we scale up the number of IoT connections in the world, the billions of them, and the nanosatellites in orbit that those IoT devices connect to, are we also sort of scaling up the threats that these IoT devices face? I mean, are we ready for what's coming here?

>> Dr. Diane Janosek: So that's a brilliant question. So people were not thinking before that a coffee maker could have the ability for someone to access your home network. But we [inaudible] coffee maker, the original ones, had IoT capacity, they realized they could actually, someone from the outside could, physically outside your house, could get access to what's going on inside your house and your home network. So they realize, "Okay. We got to start thinking about this differently." So IoT devices themselves, because it's usually, you know, not a lot of data, not a lot of sensitive data, you certainly wouldn't put your crown jewels on there. It should be okay, you don't need much security, right? The data is not worth that much money. Well, what happened was people have realized, "Well, that can be true, but also cannot be true." There was an incident with the casinos out in Las Vegas, and one of the casinos had a beautiful fish tank. And that fish tank had an IoT thermometer. So they wanted to keep it so the fish will stay alive, while through, you know, fancy foot working and, you know, long lead time, the hackers will be able -- were able to get through the thermometer of the IoT device on that casino. They went through about couple of different systems to get to the financial side and their money systems, and be able -- were able to hack it. That opened up a new paradigm because it realized it just opened up the aperture in terms of this, you know, the landscape for vulnerability. And so they're not -- people were not really thinking about that before. So that's where people started thinking, "Oh, my gosh, you better start thinking about cyber security and IoT devices because they're going to be connecting to something else that connects to something else." And then when it connects to, may be worth a lot of money, could have a lot of privacy data, or it could have a lot of sensitive information. You know, it could have, you know, your trade secret information. So they realized, okay, they have to start thinking about embedding more security into IoT devices. So now, companies have been thinking that way. So cyber security and IoT devices is necessary. And it's necessary whether it's terrestrial-based internet or, you know, the satellite internet.

>> Maria Varmazis: Do we feel that the satellite internet providers have that maturity that, and they recognize that this is a priority? Or do we feel like maybe they're lagging behind terrestrial providers?

>> Dr. Diane Janosek: I think it depends on the IoT maker, because there's a lot of -- because there's so many different IoT devices out there. What did I tell you? Twenty-two point one million devices out there, just right now. So there's a lot of people in this business. So my big thing is, the consumer dictates or demands how much security they wanted better than their devices. So there's a consumer aspect, right? It's supply and demand in terms of, "I want to pay more for the more secure device." There's a lot of people out there that think that way now, right? So they're willing to pay more for a more secure device. That's supply, demand, and the consumer-driven aspect of it. I think, actually, is more persuasive to IoT manufacturers than regulation would necessarily be, which is where it's forced. Yeah, to keep the innovation going in IoT, regulation could tamper that or tamper it. And so to really keep our, you know, innovation going, you want them to be driven by their consumer base and what the consumer is willing to pay for. And so if the consumer expects things to be secure, or you know, especially companies that have, you know, have, you know, their conference rooms, how their conference rooms are set up on terms of maybe some connectivity in the conference room, all of a sudden, that becomes the hotbed for, you know, different attacks and vulnerabilities for a company. They're going to start demanding more security in those IoT devices that they're using, you know, in the workplace and at home. And that's probably the best way to ensure that cyber security is thought of as part of IoT development.

>> Maria Varmazis: Absolutely, absolutely. And sort of, it's a great segue to a question I had. At the end of your paper, you wrote that you urge countries, especially the United States to prepare in securing digital communications with nanosatellites, and perhaps, push forward or try to adopt something like a satellite, IoT legislation, which would be maybe akin to the IoT Cyber Security Improvement Act of 2020, which was aimed at improving baseline IoT security. I guess if you had your druthers, if, you know, we had a genie that could grant wishes, what would you like to see in legislation like that or the satellite IoT legislation?

>> Dr. Diane Janosek: So nanosatellites have to be launched. If we make the launch process and the reentry process so difficult, and so expensive, companies are not going to choose to work with the United States. So the way that it works now is, wherever you are launched from, you're under the jurisdiction of that country. So whatever launched on US soil is considered to be under the jurisdiction of the United States. So if we make our control and regulation so much harder, we will not have that innovation in the United States. You might have the design in the United States, but then they take it somewhere else to launch it, and to monitor it, and to maintain it. And so you really do want to meet that sweet spot, right? So the reason why there is so much, there is regulation in the area of space launches, and satellite launches, and reentry, is because of the fear of hitting people, right, those old fashioned, you know, Sputnik launches, when they come back down, you know, you don't know where they're going to land, and the water you hoped in the ocean, and not to hit somebody. So they regulated it tremendously, just like they regulate airplanes, because of the human safety aspect of it. So at some point, there has to be a risk calculus for these launching of the nanosatellites where the regulation is not as high so that companies continue to do business in the United States. And that the power of our innovation, and our technical spirit, and our, you know, tech-savvy, and our network security savviness, and software security, and cyber security, those companies can do that in the United States, and launch, and maintain it all the way through, you know, the lifecycle of that particular nanosatellite system. So that's what I would encourage. I would encourage less regulation on some of the smaller things, so that we stay ahead of this game, and that the United States stays postured for success. If you're looking at a $4 trillion industry by the year of 2040, if they all pick up and they go somewhere else, it's not very good for Americans, right? We want to keep that type of innovation occurring right here in our backyard and manage it. And, you know, we could impose some type of cyber security regulation in terms of the transmission of the data. But if there's somewhere else, US regulation won't help anybody, right? You can't regulate in a foreign country in terms of how they transmit and secure their information. So we want to keep them in the United States, encourage them to innovate here, encourage them to produce here, to launch from here, to transmit to and from here. And then, you know, and keep that income and capitalism alive, and just the, you know, the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial spirit that we have in the United States alive.

>> Maria Varmazis: Absolutely. I really appreciate your perspective on this. And it's a fascinating field where I think, as you've noted, we're going to see a lot more, so much more growth, and a lot more innovation. So watch this, watch the space space.

>> Dr. Diane Janosek: Watch the space of outer space.

>> Maria Varmazis: Exactly. Diane, thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today. If you've enjoyed sharing any of the incredible images from the James Webb Space Telescope, since we started getting those images from the telescope last July, and especially if you've been one of the millions sharing the official NASA posts on social media, there's a great little way that you can say thank you to the NASA/Webb social media team. They've been nominated for a Webby Award, which is kind of a big deal for those of us who are very online. And the team would love your support by way of your vote. We have a link for you. So you can go vote directly on the web, is for the NASA/Webb social team. And this one's personal for me as I got to meet the NASA/Webb social media team last year when I went to the JWST first images event at Goddard last year. And I can confirm the social media team, they are really wonderful, hard-working folks who are very passionate about sharing what Webb is doing and why it matters, especially with people who might not normally geek out on space stuff. And as a lot of us know, that's a really tough mission, and the Webb social media team have embraced it and done a great job. Any team that comes up with a hashtag as brilliant as #UnfoldTheUniverse, gets my enthusiastic vote, and I hope they get yours as well. Link is at space.n2k.com. And that's it for T-Minus for April 10, 2023. T-Minus is a production of N2K Networks, the news to knowledge platform for professionals. For links to all of today's stories, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com. Our theme song is by Elliott Peltzman. Mixing is by Elliott Peltzman and Tré Hester. Our executive producer is Brandon Karpf. And I'm Maria Varmazis. See you tomorrow.

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