1 February 2021


Media Updates, News, Security, Space

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  • RHEA Group signs contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to establish the Security Cyber Centre of Excellence, which will be located in the European Space Security and Education Centre (ESEC), in Redu, Belgium.
  • RHEA and its consortium will carry out the first 5-year contract to help ESA to strengthen its activities around cybersecurity for all existing and future European space programmes.

RHEA Group is leading the project team awarded a 5-year contract by ESA to establish the Security Cyber Centre of Excellence at ESEC, in Redu, Belgium, the hub of ESA’s space-related cybersecurity services. The contract was signed on 21 December 2020.

During the Space 19+ meeting in November 2019, ESA committed to providing world-leading cybersecurity activities in support of all European space programmes. This new Security Cyber Centre of Excellence will enhance ESA’s ability to assess and respond to existing and future cyber threats. It will enable ESA to adapt its cybersecurity capabilities, model the future security landscape and develop best practice within the Agency.

The Security Cyber Centre of Excellence will serve as a central institution and point of reference for space capability security both within Europe and internationally, and be one of the key instruments used to increase the cyber resilience of ESA and the wider space industrial community.

The Centre will also provide services to a wide range of user communities with varying levels of experience and sophistication. A key feature of the proposed capability will be to enable users to produce results that are appropriate and proportionate to the many different and distinct programmes and missions for which ESA is responsible.

André Sincennes, CEO of RHEA Group, said, “RHEA has been working with ESA at Redu for the past 6 years and is extremely delighted to be awarded this important and strategic contract. With this highly experienced project team, we bring a world-leading combination of engineering expertise and experience from across the space and cybersecurity domains. Under this contract, the project team will help reinforce and better integrate cyber defences across the Agency and create a federated cyber defence arsenal articulated around the Security Cyber Centre of Excellence and the Cyber Security Operations Centre, for which RHEA was awarded a phase 1 contract earlier in 2020.”

“We live in an information-dominated world, where nearly every activity is dependent in some way on space-based assets, including communications; position, navigation and timing; and Earth/space observation, and these technologies are critically entwined with cyber-based infrastructures. Many of ESA’s projects provide services that are critical to society and contribute to its security, so the growing cyber threat has to be taken very seriously.”

André concluded, “ESA’s philosophy is to partner with industry and leverage the expertise and capabilities developed through ESA research and technology development programmes. We believe that the capabilities developed in this Security Cyber Centre of Excellence will provide the footprint and technology for national centres for many years to come.”

ESA’s Security Cyber Centre of Excellence has the potential to operate in combination with cybersecurity initiatives of the European Commission, such as the European Network of Cybersecurity Competence Centres, and interface with key European institutional and national security organizations.

Press contact: Isabelle Roels