WASHINGTON — The cybersecurity firm Xage Security won a $17 million contract to protect the Space Force’s Space Systems Command networks for the next five years.

Based in Palo Alto, California, Xage specializes in so-called “zero trust” software used to thwart network intrusions.

The contract, announced Sept. 27, is for the protection of information networks, satellite ground stations, modems and other Space Force assets.

Geoffrey Mattson, CEO of Xage Security, said the contract also extends to “hybrid satellite architectures” of government-owned and commercial systems. 

Under the zero-trust approach — which assumes that individuals or devices attempting to access a network cannot automatically be trusted — users are verified every time they request access. 

The company’s technology is used by energy companies and operators of critical infrastructure. 

Mattson described Xage’s system as a “mesh cybersecurity platform” that secures data exchanges across multi-layered networks, including interactions between commercial and DoD assets.

“You have to prove who you are to access applications,” he said. The mesh platform also prevents the spread of cyberattacks by fencing off certain applications that are not supposed to interact with others in the network. 

The Space Systems Command, Mattson said, “has strongly embraced the strategy of zero trust, which creates very little room for attackers to either access the system or to move within the network.”

Previous Air Force contracts 

Mattson said Xage Security has been working with the military for several years. The company in 2020 won a contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to study options for “end-to-end data protection across military and civilian assets to support command and control for the U.S. Space Force.”

That contract followed a 2019 Small Business Innovation Research Phase 1 award from the Air Force’s AFWERX program to demonstrate cybersecurity solutions for Air Force systems.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...