SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Cal Poly students are working to make the final frontier more secure.
The university announced Monday that it had received a more than $340,000 grant to improve cybersecurity for space satellites.
The money will go towards a series of "Space Operations Challenges."
Cal Poly students and staff will work together on six specific challenges that will focus on issues including satellite communication design, launch time, ground communication, and data exploitation.
The university says the goal is to increase safety and security for thousands of satellites that are currently in orbit.
"Space, satellites and cybersecurity are at the national forefront of focus for a multitude of reasons, including national defense and commercial applications," Cal Poly California Cybersecurity Institute (CCI) Program Manager Martin Minnich said. "In today's global economy, there are more services and demand for services being provided by satellites in orbit than ever before. Cal Poly, with our involvement in the development of CubeSats and our close proximity to Vandenberg Air Force Base and the 30th Space Wing, is strategically positioned to help with the national conversation in both civilian and governmental applications."
Earlier this year, Cal Poly became the first university in the world to sign an agreement with U.S. Strategic Command to expand space situational awareness. They'll work together to monitor, understand, and predict natural and manmade objects in orbit around Earth.
Some of the grant money will also be used on a one-day seminar at Cal Poly called "Innovation in Cybersecurity to Defend National and Commercial Space Assets." That will be held next June and will focus on the impact cybersecurity and space are having on the workforce and economy.