Research and Related News

Satellites orbiting Earth, view from space

Drawing on our unique vantage point, MITRE publishes a wide range of technical papers, op-eds, and articles on space-related topics for the public, the government, and the academic/research and space communities. Our deep technical know-how in all aspects of aerospace integration—including planning, modeling, human factors, human in-the-loop experimentation, and requirements development—is reflected in these papers. 


Read MITRE's vision (PDF) for a safer, more secure future in space.

Space Policy Podcast

In 2020, MITRE joined forces with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Space Foundation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to produce a podcast series: Space Policy Pod. The podcast examines events and ideas affecting the space sector. Each episode features discussion on relevant space topics with prominent policymakers from the field. Listen Now

2021 ASCEND Conference — MITRE Presentations

See our Presentation Schedule and view videos from our presenters below.

Translating Space Cybersecurity Policy into Actionable Guidance for Space Vehicles (video)—Brandon Bailey, The Aerospace Corporation; Gregory Falco, Johns Hopkins University; Nicholas Tsamis, MITRE

SISE (Space Information Sharing Ecosystems): Decentralized Space Information Sharing as a Key Enabler of Trust and the Preservation of Space (video)—Nathaniel Dailey, MITRE; Harvey Reed, MITRE; Ruth Stilwell, Aerospace Policy Solutions, LLC; Brian Weeden, Secure World Foundation

Preserving Space Through Collaborative Decision Making by Space Operators (video)—Andy Anderegg, MITRE; Elizabeth Blakney, MITRE; Jayson Lee, MITRE; Sean O'Neil, MITRE; Marilyn Ross, MITRE

Planning for Future Conjunctions (video)—Tim Gruber, MITRE; Paul Hartman, MITRE; Patrick Savell, MITRE

Extending a Big Data Platform for Transportation to Space (video)—Justin Wilson, MITRE; Marco Adelfio, MITRE; Van Hare, MITRE

Development of Cybersecurity Norms for Space Systems (video)—Samuel Visner, MITRE; Peter Sharfman, MITRE


In the News

Breaking Defense: Revolutionary Tech Could Allow Near-Real Time Space Tracking, MITRE Says

September 2021

In an interview with Breaking Defense, MITRE’s Bob Carden, Dustin Burchett, and Harvey Reed explain how MITRE-developed software improves positional awareness of objects in space. Read More

POLITICO: It’s Time to Declare Space Systems as Critical Infrastructure

April 2021

In the United States, our economy, national security, and everyday lifestyle rely heavily upon thousands of space systems in orbit. It's time to protect our nation’s space-based systems by designating them as critical infrastructure. Read More

War on the Rocks: More Space Wargames, Please

November 2020

There’s no stopping the expansion of the great-power competition into space. A modest investment to boost the Department of Defense’s space wargaming would substantially improve survivability and overall effectiveness of military’s future space architecture, writes Shane Bilsborough, a lead analyst with MITRE’s Center for Technology & National Security. Read More

Space News: Rocket science was the easy part. What can other domains teach us about space?

June 2020

What lessons can other domains teach us about space? MITRE’s Ben Poole discusses inspiration we can draw – and pitfalls we can avoid – from mobile phones, cybersecurity, air traffic management, and more. Read More

Federal Times: Space Launch Can Grow Alongside Aviation

May 2020

Expected growth of commercial space launches will lead to more crowded airspace. The future requires finding a balanced way to manage the needs of the aviation community alongside commercial space launch operators, say MITRE’s Scott Kordella and U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Christian Zur. Read More

Air Force Magazine: For Clues About Space Force’s Future, Look to Crew Dragon

May 2020

Could NASA’s return to launching astronauts from the United States open the door to crewed capabilities for the U.S. Space Force? MITRE’s Scott Kordella says that the future could include national security missions for astronauts such as support of remote sensing capabilities. Read More

The Future of Aerospace: Interconnected from Surface to Space

January 2020

It's 2035. A CEO is in Boston, preparing to head off to a meeting in London. It's in just five hours, but she knows she has plenty of time. She uses her phone to order an air taxi to the airport, then heads for the rooftop vertiport. Within 15 minutes she’s at the airport, ready to board a supersonic aircraft. Read More

Space News: Space Industry Group Focused on Cybersecurity to Begin Operations in Spring 2020

January 2020

As massive new commercial satellites constellations are launched into low Earth orbit, a serious discussion about potential cyber vulnerabilities is needed, says Samuel Visner, director of the National Cybersecurity Federally Funded Research and Development Center, which is operated by MITRE. Read More

Space News: Protecting Low Earth Orbit from Becoming the New Wild West

March 2019

If outer space is the "final frontier," the private commercialization of low Earth orbit (LEO)—about 100-1,200 miles up—could become the new Wild West if we're not careful. Read More

About MITRE's Projects

MITRE Technical Papers

MITRE’s University Innovation Exchange for Space: Using Space Research to Address Enterprise-Wide Problems

Data gathered in space can help researchers address problems like pollution, traffic congestion, and power generation. MITRE is working with four Virginia universities with expertise in remote-sensing technology to make use of information from satellites. Read the Paper

A Space Information Sharing Framework

The current space operating environment relies heavily on manual activities for space situational awareness, using legacy processes that may be inadequate to accommodate the rapid growth in the satellite industry and placing unprecedented demands on the orbital environment. Information sharing among government regulators and space operators is a key requirement for successful operations, future commercial growth, and long-term sustainability. Read the Paper

Cyber Best Practices for Small Satellites

Protection of satellites and ground systems against cyber-attack is necessary to ensure safe operations in the space sector. Protection will be required for both the command segments of and workloads served by a rapidly proliferating constellation of new, largely commercial satellites, numbering possibly in the tens of thousands. Effective and commercially viable cyber protection strategies are required that can be updated regularly to meet changing threats. Read the Paper

Charting Complex, Dynamic and Extra-Orbital Space Operations

This paper addresses what must be known and how decision science and knowledge management can be leveraged to create the catalog of the future that addresses the increasing dynamic space environment. It begins by reviewing the types of interactions and behaviors that will require monitoring and decisions. Using the decisions, we shape what must be known by others and the information exchanges to represent more complex space operations. Read the Paper

Blockchain Enabled Space Traffic Awareness: Discovery of Anomalous Behavior Supporting Automated Space Traffic Management

BESTA (Blockchain Enabled Space Traffic Awareness) is a proposed framework for automatically detecting behavioral anomalies, by comparing observations to agreements, then recording the anomalies on the BESTA blockchain as evidence dockets for subsequent adjudication. This is a first step toward automating key activities of Space Traffic Management. Read the Paper

A Cyber Attack-Centric View of Commercial Space Vehicles and the Steps Needed to Mitigate

This paper is provided to inform commercial satellite operators on the workflow of a cyber attacker against their unique ecosystems; it provides techniques and best practices to mitigate steps of an attack. The paper’s principal recommendation is the need for robust monitoring of: the ground network, the RF and optical apertures, spacecraft bus, and command and telemetry. The Space ISAC can help members share findings from monitoring activities and provide indications and or signatures of attackers on their systems to the community. Read the Paper

Extending Cooperative Stratospheric Operations to Space

Can industry collaboration address the challenges for controlling risks in Low Earth Orbit operations? Industry is already working toward traffic management systems to safely manage high altitude airspace, near space. This paper shows how these techniques and aerospace industry efforts may be extensible beyond high altitude airspace, creating a more seamless surface-to-space traffic management for the air and space communities. Read the Paper

International Space Reference Architecture

MITRE proposes an open International Space Reference Architecture (ISRA), as the foundation for shared space related information and agreements which support and enable SSA, STM, and related space activities. Reference architectures serve as tools for providing common information, guidance, and direction to guide and constrain enterprise and systems architecture and solutions. ISRA is a sociotechnological approach to the reference architecture mechanism that creates a multidisciplinary nexus across sectors and domains. It is intended to be a capacity building, internationally governed effort, and sets the foundation for multi-lateral technical, operational, and policy standards and recommendations. Read the Paper

Surface to Space Integration: Mixed Use of the Aerospace Domain

Surface to Space Integration: Mixed Use of the Aerospace Domain The potential consequences of a space and air safety incident are so great as to pose a strategic threat to the nascent space industry or for the sustainability of air operators. This paper establishes a risk analysis framework for the strategic, operational, and tactical challenges associated with the shared use airspace by air and space operations. The framework is intended to organize community efforts to resolve the challenges and implement solutions to the seminal questions of safety, airspace access and predictability for future space and air operations. Read the Paper

Cyber Best Practices for Small Satellites

Protection of satellites and ground systems against cyber-attack is necessary to ensure safe operations in the space sector. Protection will be required for both the command segments of and workloads served by a rapidly proliferating constellation of new, largely commercial satellites, numbering possibly in the tens of thousands. Read the Paper

Achieving Robust and Resilient Navigation and Timing for Defense Applications

This document summarizes the results of a MITRE initiative to define a national strategy for navigation and timing. The Global Positioning System (GPS) currently provides the foundation for our nation’s navigation and timing. Read the Paper

Novel Timing Antennas for Improved GNSS Resilience

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) antennas installed at fixed site infrastructure are susceptible to interference, jamming, and spoofing signals incident along the direction of the horizon. In this paper, a set of requirements are derived for GNSS antennas that ensure critical infrastructure timing receivers have access to sufficient satellites to derive resilient time and frequency while placing a null in all polarizations at and below the horizon. Read the Paper

Aligning with the Space Enterprise Vision: Overcoming the Threat to Space Systems

GPS satellites help target enemies while minimizing collateral damage. They help troops navigate and avoid fratricide. Their timing signal helps synchronize cellular networks, gas pumps, and cash machines, stabilizing our economy. Read the Paper