SDA and private Industry

For this week, I read the article “ Private industry aims to fufill demand for space threat intelligence” on (  I had initially thought the article would be about cybersecurity, but soon realized that it was more about space domain awareness, and out it could be filled by the private industry.  Space domain awareness (SDA) is the term used by the military to describe knowing the situation in space, or having “knowledge of the space environment”.  While part of that is tracking all of the objects in space, whether trash/debris or active spacecraft and satellites, another portion, according to the article, involves analyzing spacecraft characteristics and activities.  I did not elaborate on this in my video, so apologies here.  Space Command has had briefings and participated in conferences to elicit responses and see where the private industry stands on being able to deliver on some of their goals.  Another portion of the article states that “Several developments in space over the past several months have raised alarms..”, and that knowledge on space objects was not precise enough to differentiate between peaceful or aggressive actions in space.  This sets the stage for what the government is looking for when it comes to private firms trying to get into SDA

The big hold up, according to the article, is that the government is worried about ‘vendor lock’, a situation where the government would become dependent on one service, technology, or vendor, and be unable to adapt quickly or to use other vendors.  Choosing one or two vendors may also prevent other companies from wanting to make investments, which would also stifle advancement.  The CEO of Slingshot Aerospace, Melanie Stricklan, states vendor lock is a myth, and just like buying an iPhone, you don’t get locked in.  However, a public comment on the article argues that you do get vendor lock in with an iPhone, and I tend to agree with this comment.  Specifically with iPhone, if you want music, video, or books, you have to use their applications.  You also need to use special cables to charge your device, as well as to plug in headphones.  And if you do choose to change to a different phone brand, you lose the investment put into the Apple product, both time and money.  The article goes on to mention other companies, and SDA systems that they are working on.

While the article doesn’t talk about it, I think going commercial with this type of product will bring large cybersecurity concerns.  If several different companies are chosen for their different abilities, each will have their own take on cybersecurity.  While the government can set baseline standards, implementation will be different from each company.  With a contract, the government would then be locked into that one method of SDA and cybersecurity, or would have different agreements with different companies, and be forced to reconcile any differences in their methodology would increase overhead, or if left unreconciled, would leave several gaps in the security of any data coming.