Trust and Isolation for Applications in Satellites
Satellites are carrying more and more third-party modules and applications. More than a hundred spacecraft, not only experimental but also commercial (e.g. Planet Labs Dove, SpaceX Falcon/Dragon) have flown Linux thanks to new high-performance on-board computers that support Linux. These computers are often based on System-on-Chip devices, which include both processing core(s) and a reconfigurable FPGA. This enables both software executed on the processing core(s) and hardware functions implemented in the FGPA to be updated on orbit.Solutions are needed for enforcing strong integrity and separation between components and for remote verifying the security health and integrity of the platform. Trusted computing solutions – such as trusted execution environments and remote attestation – can enable the ground segment to verify satellites’ software configuration and security state.