Report: Industry has to face reality that commercial satellites will be targets in war

WASHINGTON — Experts have labeled the Ukraine conflict the first commercial space war due to the extensive use of private-sector satellites for imagery and for communications, with companies like SpaceX and Viasat becoming targets of electronic and cyber attacks.

Commercial satellites have crossed the Rubicon and companies need to figure out how they will cope with the prospect of intentional or accidental attacks during international conflicts, says a new report by Aerospace Corp.  

Typically only companies that provide direct services to the U.S. military would consider security issues to be relevant to day-to-day commercial operations, but that is changing, the report says.

“In crises and conflicts, commercial space actors risk getting caught in the middle of a tense and escalatory environment,” writes Robin Dickey, space policy and strategy analyst at Aerospace’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy,

An attack could occur “either because a commercial system is misidentified as a military system or because that commercial system is suspected of acting aggressively or threateningly,” the report says.

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