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Faculty Recognition

Awarded First-Ever Space Cybersecurity Grant

The grant, from the U.S. National Science Foundation, was awarded to Cal Poly's Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group.

Cal Poly’s Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to study outer space cybersecurity, both technical and policy dimensions. The two-year project is the first that the NSF has funded on the subject. 

With interdisciplinary scholars and prominent expert consultants, the new project will generate novel scenarios for space cyberattacks while identifying and analyzing gaps in space law and norms that might allow for misunderstandings and conflict in the already contested but vital domain of outer space.

According to the project’s principal investigator Patrick Lin, director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group and philosophy professor at Cal Poly, it is now urgent to study space cybersecurity given a perfect storm of factors.

“All of our space laws, such as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, are just too old and need to be updated for today’s technological realities,” Lin said. “At the same time, space systems are increasingly complex, which means more cyberattack vectors that need to be anticipated for informed policy planning and technical designs.”