Security systems / Cryptology

OHB's Security Systems unit covers all activities related to the planning and implementation of security systems for space. The main focus is on the interception/falsification-proof transmission of telecommands (TC) to the satellite, which are required by national security standards but frequently also apply to commercial satellites. The purpose is to ensure sole and unrestricted access by authorized users. The measures used to achieve this generally entail encryption and the addition of digital signatures.

In the opposite direction, the telemetric data (TM) which the satellite sends to the earth and which is universally receivable is encrypted to prevent unauthorized access to valuable measurement data, images etc.

For almost ten years now, OHB has been defining, developing and successfully operating various cryptographic systems for low-orbit and geostationary satellites for this purpose:

  • TM&TC - cryptographic systems for satellites (example: currently being used in the telecommunications satellite system operated by the German Federal Armed Forces)
  • TC signature verification equipment for satellites (example: SAR-Lupe 1-5)
  • High-speed telemetrics channel coding and encryption for earth observation satellites (example: South Korea's KOMPSAT-2)
  • TM&TC - cryptographic systems for ground stations (Gelsdorf, Weilheim, Oberpfaffenhofen)

Testing equipment and ancillary devices (smart cards, programming and code loading systems) are designed, defined and, for the most part, fabricated by OHB itself for implementation and extensive testing of the cryptographic devices on the ground.

At the moment, all of the satellite systems being used by the German Federal Armed Forces are protected by OHB cryptographic systems. However, these proven skills are also to be utilized on a European level, e.g. for the Galileo satellite fleet and the SGEO satellite platform.