Rendezvous & Proximity Operations: Docked Vehicle / OSAM

Threat actors may leverage docking vehicles to laterally move into a target spacecraft. If information is known on docking plans, a threat actor may target vehicles on the ground or in space to deploy malware to laterally move or execute malware on the target spacecraft via the docking interface.

ID: IA-0005.02
Sub-technique of:  IA-0005
Notional Risk (H | M | L):  12 | 12 | 12
Related Aerospace Threat IDs:  SV-AC-5 | SV-AC-6 | SV-CF-2
Related ESA SPACE-SHIELD TTPs:  T2028.005
Created: 2022/10/19
Last Modified: 2023/04/22


ID Name Description NIST Rev5 D3FEND ISO 27001
CM0077 Space Domain Awareness The credibility and effectiveness of many other types of defenses are enabled or enhanced by the ability to quickly detect, characterize, and attribute attacks against space systems. Space domain awareness (SDA) includes identifying and tracking space objects, predicting where objects will be in the future, monitoring the space environment and space weather, and characterizing the capabilities of space objects and how they are being used. Exquisite SDA—information that is more timely, precise, and comprehensive than what is publicly available—can help distinguish between accidental and intentional actions in space. SDA systems include terrestrial-based optical, infrared, and radar systems as well as space-based sensors, such as the U.S. military’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) inspector satellites. Many nations have SDA systems with various levels of capability, and an increasing number of private companies (and amateur space trackers) are developing their own space surveillance systems, making the space environment more transparent to all users.* * CP-13 CP-2(3) CP-2(4) CP-2(5) CP-2(7) PE-20 PE-6 SI-4(17) D3-APLM D3-PM D3-HCI D3-SYSM A.5.29 A.7.4 A.8.16 A.5.10
CM0079 Maneuverability Satellite maneuver is an operational tactic that can be used by satellites fitted with chemical thrusters to avoid kinetic and some directed energy ASAT weapons. For unguided projectiles, a satellite can be commanded to move out of their trajectory to avoid impact. If the threat is a guided projectile, like most direct-ascent ASAT and co-orbital ASAT weapons, maneuver becomes more difficult and is only likely to be effective if the satellite can move beyond the view of the onboard sensors on the guided warhead.* * CP-10(6) CP-13 CP-2 CP-2(1) CP-2(3) CP-2(4) CP-2(5) PE-20 PE-21 None 7.5.1 7.5.2 7.5.3 A.5.2 A.5.29 A.8.1 A.5.30 A.5.29 A.5.10
CM0080 Stealth Technology Space systems can be operated and designed in ways that make them difficult to detect and track. Similar to platforms in other domains, stealthy satellites can use a smaller size, radar-absorbing coatings, radar-deflecting shapes, radar jamming and spoofing, unexpected or optimized maneuvers, and careful control of reflected radar, optical, and infrared energy to make themselves more difficult to detect and track. For example, academic research has shown that routine spacecraft maneuvers can be optimized to avoid detection by known sensors.* * CP-10(6) CP-13 SC-30 SC-30(5) D3-PH A.5.29
CM0081 Defensive Jamming and Spoofing A jammer or spoofer can be used to disrupt sensors on an incoming kinetic ASAT weapon so that it cannot steer itself effectively in the terminal phase of flight. When used in conjunction with maneuver, this could allow a satellite to effectively “dodge” a kinetic attack. Similar systems could also be used to deceive SDA sensors by altering the reflected radar signal to change the location, velocity, and number of satellites detected, much like digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) jammers used on many military aircraft today. A spacebased jammer can also be used to disrupt an adversary’s ability to communicate.* * with an ASAT weapon. CP-10(6) CP-13 CP-2 CP-2(1) CP-2(5) CP-2(7) PE-20 D3-DO 7.5.1 7.5.2 7.5.3 A.5.2 A.5.29 A.8.1 A.5.30 A.5.29 A.5.10
CM0082 Deception and Decoys Deception can be used to conceal or mislead others on the “location, capability, operational status, mission type, and/or robustness” of a satellite. Public messaging, such as launch announcements, can limit information or actively spread disinformation about the capabilities of a satellite, and satellites can be operated in ways that conceal some of their capabilities. Another form of deception could be changing the capabilities or payloads on satellites while in orbit. Satellites with swappable payload modules could have on-orbit servicing vehicles that periodically move payloads from one satellite to another, further complicating the targeting calculus for an adversary because they may not be sure which type of payload is currently on which satellite. Satellites can also use tactical decoys to confuse the sensors on ASAT weapons and SDA systems. A satellite decoy can consist of an inflatable device designed to mimic the size and radar signature of a satellite, and multiple decoys can be stored on the satellite for deployment when needed. Electromagnetic decoys can also be used in space that mimic the RF signature of a satellite, similar to aircraft that use airborne decoys, such as the ADM-160 Miniature Air-launched Decoy (MALD).* * SC-26 SC-30 D3-DE D3-CHN D3-SHN D3-IHN D3-DO D3-DF D3-DNR D3-DP D3-DPR D3-DST D3-DUC None
CM0083 Antenna Nulling and Adaptive Filtering Satellites can be designed with antennas that “null” or minimize signals from a particular geographic region on the surface of the Earth or locations in space where jamming is detected. Nulling is useful when jamming is from a limited number of detectable locations, but one of the downsides is that it can also block transmissions from friendly users that fall within the nulled area. If a jammer is sufficiently close to friendly forces, the nulling antenna may not be able to block the jammer without also blocking legitimate users. Adaptive filtering, in contrast, is used to block specific frequency bands regardless of where these transmissions originate. Adaptive filtering is useful when jamming is consistently within a particular range of frequencies because these frequencies can be filtered out of the signal received on the satellite while transmissions can continue around them. However, a wideband jammer could interfere with a large enough portion of the spectrum being used that filtering out the jammed frequencies would degrade overall system performance. * * SC-40 SI-4(14) D3-PH None
CM0084 Physical Seizure A space vehicle capable of docking with, manipulating, or maneuvering other satellites or pieces of debris can be used to thwart spacebased attacks or mitigate the effects after an attack has occurred. Such a system could be used to physically seize a threatening satellite that is being used to attack or endanger other satellites or to capture a satellite that has been disabled or hijacked for nefarious purposes. Such a system could also be used to collect and dispose of harmful orbital debris resulting from an attack. A key limitation of a physical seizure system is that each satellite would be time- and propellant-limited depending on the orbit in which it is stored. A system stored in GEO, for example, would not be well positioned to capture an object in LEO because of the amount of propellant required to maneuver into position. Physical seizure satellites may need to be stored on Earth and deployed once they are needed to a specific orbit to counter a specific threat.* * CP-13 PE-20 D3-AM A.5.29 A.5.10
CM0087 Defensive Dazzling/Blinding Laser systems can be used to dazzle or blind the optical or infrared sensors on an incoming ASAT weapon in the terminal phase of flight. This is similar to the laser infrared countermeasures used on aircraft to defeat heat-seeking missiles. Blinding an ASAT weapon’s guidance system and then maneuvering to a new position (if necessary) could allow a satellite to effectively “dodge” a kinetic attack. It could also be used to dazzle or blind the optical sensors on inspector satellites to prevent them from imaging a satellite that wants to keep its capabilities concealed or to frustrate adversary SDA efforts.* * CP-10(6) CP-13 CP-2 CP-2(1) CP-2(5) CP-2(7) PE-20 None 7.5.1 7.5.2 7.5.3 A.5.2 A.5.29 A.8.1 A.5.30 A.5.29 A.5.10
CM0002 COMSEC A component of cybersecurity to deny unauthorized persons information derived from telecommunications and to ensure the authenticity of such telecommunications. COMSEC includes cryptographic security, transmission security, emissions security, and physical security of COMSEC material. It is imperative to utilize secure communication protocols with strong cryptographic mechanisms to prevent unauthorized disclosure of, and detect changes to, information during transmission. Systems should also maintain the confidentiality and integrity of information during preparation for transmission and during reception. Spacecraft should not employ a mode of operations where cryptography on the TT&C link can be disabled (i.e., crypto-bypass mode). The cryptographic mechanisms should identify and reject wireless transmissions that are deliberate attempts to achieve imitative or manipulative communications deception based on signal parameters. AC-17 AC-17(1) AC-17(10) AC-17(10) AC-17(2) AC-18 AC-18(1) AC-2(11) AC-3(10) CA-3 IA-4(9) IA-5 IA-5(7) IA-7 PL-8 PL-8(1) SA-8(18) SA-9(6) SC-10 SC-12 SC-12(1) SC-12(2) SC-12(3) SC-12(6) SC-13 SC-16(3) SC-28(1) SC-28(3) SC-7 SC-7(10) SC-7(11) SC-7(18) SC-7(5) SC-8(1) SC-8(3) SI-10 SI-10(3) SI-10(5) SI-10(6) SI-19(4) SI-3(8) D3-ET D3-MH D3-MAN D3-MENCR D3-NTF D3-ITF D3-OTF D3-CH D3-DTP D3-NTA D3-CAA D3-DNSTA D3-IPCTA D3-NTCD D3-RTSD D3-PHDURA D3-PMAD D3-CSPP D3-MA D3-SMRA D3-SRA A.5.14 A.6.7 A.8.1 A.8.16 A.5.14 A.8.1 A.8.20 A.5.14 A.8.21 A.5.16 A.5.17 A.5.8 A.5.14 A.8.16 A.8.20 A.8.22 A.8.23 A.8.26 A.8.12 A.5.33 A.8.20 A.8.24 A.8.24 A.8.26 A.5.31 A.5.33 A.8.11
CM0031 Authentication Authenticate all communication sessions (crosslink and ground stations) for all commands before establishing remote connections using bidirectional authentication that is cryptographically based. Adding authentication on the spacecraft bus and communications on-board the spacecraft is also recommended. AC-14 AC-17 AC-17(10) AC-17(10) AC-17(2) AC-18 AC-18(1) IA-2 IA-3(1) IA-4 IA-4(9) IA-7 PL-8 PL-8(1) SA-3 SA-4(5) SA-8 SA-8(15) SA-8(9) SC-16 SC-16(2) SC-32(1) SC-7(11) SC-8(1) SI-14(3) D3-MH D3-MAN D3-CH D3-BAN D3-MFA D3-TAAN D3-CBAN A.5.14 A.6.7 A.8.1 A.5.14 A.8.1 A.8.20 A.5.16 A.5.16 A.5.8 A.5.2 A.5.8 A.8.25 A.8.31 A.8.27 A.8.28 A.5.33
CM0003 TEMPEST The spacecraft should protect system components, associated data communications, and communication buses in accordance with TEMPEST controls to prevent side channel / proximity attacks. Encompass the spacecraft critical components with a casing/shielding so as to prevent access to the individual critical components. PE-19 PE-19(1) PE-21 SC-8(3) D3-PH D3-RFS A.7.5 A.7.8 A.8.12
CM0040 Shared Resource Leakage Prevent unauthorized and unintended information transfer via shared system resources. Ensure that processes reusing a shared system resource (e.g., registers, main memory, secondary storage) do not have access to information (including encrypted representations of information) previously stored in that resource during a prior use by a process after formal release of that resource back to the system or reuse AC-4(23) AC-4(25) SC-2(2) SC-32(1) SC-4 SC-49 SC-50 SC-7(29) D3-MAC D3-PAN D3-HBPI A.8.11 A.8.10
CM0050 On-board Message Encryption In addition to authentication on-board the spacecraft bus, encryption is also recommended to protect the confidentiality of the data traversing the bus. AC-4 AC-4(23) AC-4(24) AC-4(26) AC-4(31) AC-4(32) PL-8 PL-8(1) SA-3 SA-8 SA-8(18) SA-8(9) SA-9(6) SC-13 SC-16 SC-16(2) SC-16(3) SC-8(1) SC-8(3) SI-19(4) SI-4(10) SI-4(25) D3-MH D3-MENCR D3-ET A.5.14 A.8.22 A.8.23 A.8.11 A.5.8 A.5.2 A.5.8 A.8.25 A.8.31 A.8.27 A.8.28 A.5.33 A.8.24 A.8.26 A.5.31 A.8.11
CM0039 Least Privilege Employ the principle of least privilege, allowing only authorized processes which are necessary to accomplish assigned tasks in accordance with system functions. Ideally maintain a separate execution domain for each executing process. AC-2 AC-3(13) AC-3(15) AC-4(2) AC-6 CA-3(6) CM-7 CM-7(4) CM-7(8) PL-8 PL-8(1) SA-17(7) SA-3 SA-4(9) SA-8 SA-8(13) SA-8(14) SA-8(15) SA-8(3) SA-8(4) SA-8(9) SC-2(2) SC-32(1) SC-49 SC-50 SC-7(29) D3-MAC D3-EI D3-HBPI D3-KBPI D3-PSEP D3-MBT D3-PCSV D3-LFP D3-UBA A.5.16 A.5.18 A.8.2 A.5.15 A.8.2 A.8.18 A.8.19 A.8.19 A.5.8 A.5.2 A.5.8 A.8.25 A.8.31 A.8.27 A.8.28
CM0032 On-board Intrusion Detection & Prevention Utilize on-board intrusion detection/prevention system that monitors the mission critical components or systems and audit/logs actions. The IDS/IPS should have the capability to respond to threats (initial access, execution, persistence, evasion, exfiltration, etc.) and it should address signature-based attacks along with dynamic never-before seen attacks using machine learning/adaptive technologies. The IDS/IPS must integrate with traditional fault management to provide a wholistic approach to faults on-board the spacecraft. Spacecraft should select and execute safe countermeasures against cyber-attacks.  These countermeasures are a ready supply of options to triage against the specific types of attack and mission priorities. Minimally, the response should ensure vehicle safety and continued operations. Ideally, the goal is to trap the threat, convince the threat that it is successful, and trace and track the attacker — with or without ground support. This would support successful attribution and evolving countermeasures to mitigate the threat in the future. “Safe countermeasures” are those that are compatible with the system’s fault management system to avoid unintended effects or fratricide on the system. AU-14 AU-2 AU-3 AU-3(1) AU-4 AU-4(1) AU-5 AU-5(2) AU-5(5) AU-6(1) AU-6(4) AU-8 AU-9 AU-9(2) AU-9(3) CA-7(6) CM-11(3) CP-10 CP-10(4) IR-4 IR-4(11) IR-4(12) IR-4(14) IR-4(5) IR-5 IR-5(1) PL-8 PL-8(1) RA-10 RA-3(4) SA-8(21) SA-8(22) SA-8(23) SC-16(2) SC-32(1) SC-5 SC-5(3) SC-7(10) SC-7(9) SI-10(6) SI-16 SI-17 SI-3 SI-3(8) SI-4 SI-4(1) SI-4(10) SI-4(11) SI-4(13) SI-4(16) SI-4(17) SI-4(2) SI-4(23) SI-4(24) SI-4(25) SI-4(4) SI-4(5) SI-6 SI-7(17) SI-7(8) D3-FA D3-DA D3-FCR D3-FH D3-ID D3-IRA D3-HD D3-IAA D3-FHRA D3-NTA D3-PMAD D3-RTSD D3-ANAA D3-CA D3-CSPP D3-ISVA D3-PM D3-SDM D3-SFA D3-SFV D3-SICA D3-USICA D3-FBA D3-FEMC D3-FV D3-OSM D3-PFV D3-EHB D3-IDA D3-MBT D3-SBV D3-PA D3-PSMD D3-PSA D3-SEA D3-SSC D3-SCA D3-FAPA D3-IBCA D3-PCSV D3-FCA D3-PLA D3-UBA D3-RAPA D3-SDA D3-UDTA D3-UGLPA D3-ANET D3-AZET D3-JFAPA D3-LAM D3-NI D3-RRID D3-NTF D3-ITF D3-OTF D3-EI D3-EAL D3-EDL D3-HBPI D3-IOPR D3-KBPI D3-MAC D3-SCF A.8.15 A.8.15 A.8.6 A.8.17 A.5.33 A.8.15 A.8.15 A.5.29 A.5.25 A.5.26 A.5.27 A.5.8 A.5.7 A.8.12 A.8.7 A.8.16 A.8.16 A.8.16 A.8.16
CM0037 Disable Physical Ports Provide the capability for data connection ports or input/output devices (e.g., JTAG) to be disabled or removed prior to spacecraft operations. AC-14 MA-7 PL-8 PL-8(1) SA-3 SA-4(5) SA-4(9) SA-8 SC-41 SC-7(14) D3-EI D3-IOPR A.5.8 A.5.2 A.5.8 A.8.25 A.8.31 A.8.27 A.8.28
CM0038 Segmentation Identify the key system components or capabilities that require isolation through physical or logical means. Information should not be allowed to flow between partitioned applications unless explicitly permitted by security policy. Isolate mission critical functionality from non-mission critical functionality by means of an isolation boundary (implemented via partitions) that controls access to and protects the integrity of, the hardware, software, and firmware that provides that functionality. Enforce approved authorizations for controlling the flow of information within the spacecraft and between interconnected systems based on the defined security policy that information does not leave the spacecraft boundary unless it is encrypted. Implement boundary protections to separate bus, communications, and payload components supporting their respective functions. AC-4 AC-4(14) AC-4(2) AC-4(24) AC-4(26) AC-4(31) AC-4(32) AC-4(6) AC-6 CA-3 CA-3(7) PL-8 PL-8(1) SA-3 SA-8 SA-8(13) SA-8(15) SA-8(18) SA-8(3) SA-8(4) SA-8(9) SC-16(3) SC-2(2) SC-3 SC-32(1) SC-39 SC-4 SC-49 SC-50 SC-6 SC-7(20) SC-7(21) SC-7(29) SC-7(5) SI-17 D3-NI D3-BDI D3-NTF D3-ITF D3-OTF D3-EI D3-HBPI D3-KBPI D3-MAC D3-RRID D3-EAL D3-EDL D3-IOPR D3-SCF A.5.14 A.8.22 A.8.23 A.5.15 A.8.2 A.8.18 A.5.14 A.8.21 A.5.8 A.5.2 A.5.8 A.8.25 A.8.31 A.8.27 A.8.28
CM0065 OSAM Dual Authorization Before engaging in an On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (OSAM) mission, verification of servicer should be multi-factor authenticated/authorized by both the serviced ground station and the serviced asset. CA-3(6) IA-2(1) IA-2(2) IA-2(6) D3-OAM D3-AM D3-ODM D3-OM D3-MFA None