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Hardware-Based Isolation for Advanced Safety and Security in Spacecraft

Koisser, David ; Brasser, Ferdinand ; Jauernig, Patrick ; Stapf, Emmanuel ; Wallum, Marcus ; Fischer, Daniel ; Sadeghi, Ahmad-Reza (2023)
Hardware-Based Isolation for Advanced Safety and Security in Spacecraft.
17th International Conference on Space Operations (SpaceOps 2023). Dubai, UAE (06.-10.03.2023)
Conference or Workshop Item, Bibliographie

Abstract

With the advent of new mission concepts, such as multi-tenant spacecraft, interconnected spacecraft networks, or AI-supported autonomy, onboard spacecraft software needs to provide a growing number of functionalities. However, as onboard software grows more complex, the probability of software bugs rises as well, becoming an increasingly important factor in spacecraft safety, reliability, and cybersecurity considerations. In this paper, we introduce a novel software architecture for onboard software that builds on a strong hardware-assisted isolation mechanism. Our architecture leverages hardware extensions from Arm processors already deployed today (e.g., in CubeSats) that are becoming common in the space sector. By separating software components into hardware-assisted compartments, we ensure that they cannot affect each other, even when one component crashes. Further, our architecture allows to detect faulty software components and restart them into a safe configuration, reducing dependency on the spacecraft’s safe mode. Especially for missions in which different parties jointly utilize (parts of) a spacecraft, such as hosted payloads or multi-tenant spacecraft, our architecture provides strong safety and cybersecurity guarantees due to the strong separation between components. Due to these properties operating spacecraft becomes inherently more reliable while simplifying onboard software development, as the inherent safety and cybersecurity guarantees reduce the need to extensively test individual software components or auditing of external software. We evaluated our novel software architecture thoroughly on a hardware development board.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Erschienen: 2023
Creators: Koisser, David ; Brasser, Ferdinand ; Jauernig, Patrick ; Stapf, Emmanuel ; Wallum, Marcus ; Fischer, Daniel ; Sadeghi, Ahmad-Reza
Type of entry: Bibliographie
Title: Hardware-Based Isolation for Advanced Safety and Security in Spacecraft
Language: English
Date: 11 March 2023
Event Title: 17th International Conference on Space Operations (SpaceOps 2023)
Event Location: Dubai, UAE
Event Dates: 06.-10.03.2023
Abstract:

With the advent of new mission concepts, such as multi-tenant spacecraft, interconnected spacecraft networks, or AI-supported autonomy, onboard spacecraft software needs to provide a growing number of functionalities. However, as onboard software grows more complex, the probability of software bugs rises as well, becoming an increasingly important factor in spacecraft safety, reliability, and cybersecurity considerations. In this paper, we introduce a novel software architecture for onboard software that builds on a strong hardware-assisted isolation mechanism. Our architecture leverages hardware extensions from Arm processors already deployed today (e.g., in CubeSats) that are becoming common in the space sector. By separating software components into hardware-assisted compartments, we ensure that they cannot affect each other, even when one component crashes. Further, our architecture allows to detect faulty software components and restart them into a safe configuration, reducing dependency on the spacecraft’s safe mode. Especially for missions in which different parties jointly utilize (parts of) a spacecraft, such as hosted payloads or multi-tenant spacecraft, our architecture provides strong safety and cybersecurity guarantees due to the strong separation between components. Due to these properties operating spacecraft becomes inherently more reliable while simplifying onboard software development, as the inherent safety and cybersecurity guarantees reduce the need to extensively test individual software components or auditing of external software. We evaluated our novel software architecture thoroughly on a hardware development board.

Divisions: 20 Department of Computer Science
20 Department of Computer Science > System Security Lab
Profile Areas
Profile Areas > Cybersecurity (CYSEC)
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2024 15:40
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2024 15:40
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