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(844) 627-8267 | Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Moonlighter CubeSat reaches orbit for sandbox in space hacking competition | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

It will be the first on-orbit Capture the Flag, or CTF, hacking competition. In April we reported that the U.S. Air and Space Force had begun the fourth annual iteration of its Space Security Challenge: Hack-A-Sat 4, which it described as a hacking sandbox in space. The sandbox is now in place for the finals.

The satellite, pictured above, was designed to advance security researcher knowledge and skills in securing space systems, with the “Hack-A-Sat” finals being run by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Las Vegas in August.


Moonlighter is a 3U CubeSat with stowed outer dimensions of 34 cm x 11 cm x 11cm and flight configuration outer dimensions of 50 cm x 34 cm x 11 cm. Deployable solar panels extend off the long axis of the spacecraft and each deployed array has dimensions 34 cm x 20 cm. Its mission orbit is circular between 465km and 500 km altitude and it will be inclined 51.6°.

“Moonlighter’s launch is a step toward our nation’s advancement in space and space cybersecurity by giving researchers the tools to plan, implement and execute satellite security research in a real-time orbit,” said Colonel Fred Garcia II, director of AFRL’s Information Directorate and commander of Detachment 4, Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, New York.

To be precise, The CubeSat left Earth’s atmosphere aboard SpaceX CRS-28 on 5 June, arriving at the International Space Station a day later. After a month on the ISS, Moonlighter was deployed into low earth orbit on 5 July.

Sandbox in space

The annual Hack-A-Sat event, which is run by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is described as an opportunity for hackers, researchers and space enthusiasts to focus their thinking on solving space systems cyber security challenges. The winner can haul in a cash prize of $50,000.

The top five teams from a qualification event will advance to the Hack-A-Sat 4 finals in the Aerospace Village at DEF CON 31, an annual hacker’s convention in Las Vegas, running 11-13 August 2023.

To learn more or to sign up for contest updates, visit the hackasat.com website. You can also follow Hack-A-Sat at @hack_a_sat or at @USSF_SSC on Twitter.

See also: DASA launches competition for Morello/CHERI within Defence and Security


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