UMBC-APL Partnership

The Institute for Trusted Space Systems – ITSS

Society will increasingly depend on space assets. There are about 2,500 spacecraft currently in orbit. This number will significantly increase as OneWeb and others begin to launch spacecraft to provide global internet broadband service to individual consumers.

  1. There are two fundamental changes in how space assets will operate in the near future:
    Global connectivity will be achieved through spacecraft constellations, not individual spacecraft
  2. Spacecraft operations must proceed autonomously without human intervention.
    These changes will require trust in space assets. The new Institute of Trusted Space Systems will apply world-class expertise and facilities to ensuring our future spacecraft and operations are secure and dependable.

Issue: Space systems that have been (and are currently being) built with little consideration for cyber and physical threats are at risk and may no longer be trustworthy.

Critical Challenge: New development and operations approaches are needed that ensure the trustworthiness (including security and dependability) of spacecraft components, subsystems, and overall systems and combine these systems with distributed artificial intelligence.

  • Requires expertise and experience in satellite design, satellite operations, networking, cybersecurity, intelligent systems, autonomy, and cyber-physical systems

Goal: Solve the hardest problems in space systems security and dependability to ensure robust, reliable, and trustworthy operations

  • Multidisciplinary research on new approaches for trusted space systems security and dependability
  • Safe, secure, reliable, and agile systems for manned and unmanned missions


  • The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) are partners and co-leads in this endeavor
  • Seeking potential US Government and commercial space industry partners and sponsors

For more information, contact: