Affordable Cyber Security for Small Satellites and CubeSats

$30,000 USD

Challenge overview


Space is becoming more and more accessible for commercial ventures, academia, and emerging space-nations through the deployment of inexpensive small satellites and CubeSats. With this increased access comes increased vulnerabilities due to the use of low-cost commercial hardware and software, and exploitation of these vulnerabilities can result in loss of control, flight safety concerns, and loss of satellite among other outcomes. The Seeker is looking for low SWaP-C (size, weight, power, and cost) approaches for cyber protection of small resource-constrained satellites such as CubeSats.

This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.



CubeSats are miniaturized space satellites comprised of one or more 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm cubic modules assembled together. These are typically low cost, lightweight, and assembled using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software. Utilizing CubeSats has lowered the barrier to space entry for commercial ventures, academia, and emerging space-nations and allows low-cost earth observation, communications, and space-networking, extending the Internet-of-Things (IoT) beyond the earth’s surface. More than 1,600 CubeSats have been launched so far with many more planned over the next several years. The enabling use of available low-cost COTS hardware and software often results in vulnerabilities in control, communication, data collection, sensors, and network routing. When exploited, these vulnerabilities can result in loss or takeover of control, flight safety concerns, loss of satellite, denial of service, corrupted data, spoofed communication, and unauthorized access to other space and ground network elements. Unfortunately, resource constraints of these low SWaP-C (size, weight, power, and cost) satellites make cyber protection measures difficult to implement. The Seeker is looking for approaches to provide affordable cyber security for small satellites and CubeSats.

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker.

To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer to the Seeker their exclusive Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the solution. However, the Seeker will be willing to consider a licensing agreement for a partial award if exclusive IP cannot be transferred by the Solver.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 01-Feb-2022.
Late submissions will not be considered.


What is InnoCentive?

InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Theoretical IP Transfer Challenge?

An InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge builds upon an idea but is not yet a proof of concept. A solution to a Theoretical Challenge will solidify the Solver's concept with detailed descriptions, specifications and requirements necessary to bringing a good idea closer to becoming an actual product or service.

This Challenge is a Theoretical IP Transfer Challenge, meaning that Solvers must transfer all rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) for which they are awarded. Solvers that do not win retain the rights to their solution after the evaluation period is complete. The Seeker retains no rights to any IP not awarded.

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