Purdue among select members of new space, cybersecurity organization

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Purdue University, already known as the “Cradle of Astronauts,” is the first university to join a select group of space community leaders as a founding member of the newly formed Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC).

Dan DeLaurentis, professor of aeronautics and astronautics, will represent the university on the Space ISAC center’s board of directors. The board, which held its second meeting on Jan. 23, consists of members of space industry, cybersecurity and, now, academia. A second university is expected to be invited to join at a later date.

The Space ISAC is unique by including academic participation in addition to predominately industry leaders on the board. The new collaboration will help fill gaps in information sharing between the ISAC partners regarding cyber and non-cyber threats.

The cybersecurity risks are different from those applying to land-, sea- and air-based systems. In the non-cyber realm, issues such as space debris, space weather and environment, the effectiveness of launch systems, and domestic and international policies are critical threats.

Inadequate workforce capacity targeted to space needs is an overarching threat for which Purdue and its educational partners at all levels will have primary responsibility.

DeLaurentis said involvement in the Space ISAC is a perfect fit for Purdue, citing the university’s ever-expanding contributions in space, long-standing cybersecurity leadership in academia and its nearly 30% of sponsored work funded by the private sector.

“We are gratified that the Space ISAC charter recognizes the critical role that academia must play in sustaining the security of our nation’s most critical infrastructure,” he said. “The Space ISAC is positioned at the nexus of three of Purdue’s highest priorities and core strengths: space, cybersecurity and strategic research partnerships with the private sector.”

DeLaurentis said Purdue will contribute to defining and carrying out longer-term research for the group as well as educational and workforce development activities. As a benefit, the university will gain access to expansive information in the areas and help influence the direction of the Space ISAC, especially through relevant expertise like Purdue’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS).

ISACs are organizations supported by the commercial sector with support from the federal government to collect, analyze and disseminate cyber and physical security threats and risk mitigation information to critical infrastructure owners, operators and members to increase resiliency.

The Space ISAC has the goal of increasing the space community’s ability to prepare for and respond to vulnerabilities, incidents and threats; disseminate timely information; and serve as the primary communications channel for the sector with respect to this information.

The Space ISAC is one of more than 20 representing industry sectors including automotive, aviation, national defense and emergency management. Space ISAC industry members include Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, among others.

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