Northrop Grumman prepares for final flight of Antares with Russian and Ukrainian components

The Antares rocket is a powerful and highly used launch vehicle that has completed numerous missions for Northrop Grumman. The Antares rocket featured a lot of parts from around the global supply chain in its construction including components from Ukraine as well as rocket engines manufactured in Russia. With recent geopolitical events (See Russian invasion of Ukraine) and subsequent sanctions Northrop has developed a plan to develop a new series of rockets set to be first flown between 2024-2025 which will use entirely stateside manufactured and sourced components, both re solidifying their commercial spaceflight stature as well as opening new doors in the defense space.

While this article does not specifically mention cybersecurity it goes to highlight the interesting and fragile nature of human spaceflight operations and our codependence on outside entities and foreign manufacturing and operating partnerships. In terms of cyber security, it brings to mind the idea of traceability in the manufacturing process. If materials are being manufactured in foreign hubs, especially nations known for their previous cyber-attacks, there is an increased potential for malicious software and hardware to be introduced into the supply chain. For mission critical components it is vital to ensure that these components are able to be fully traced and vetted through the supply chain.