Registration Opens for the Second Annual Hack-A-Sat Program

The Department of the Air Force wants to know if you can hack its satellites.

Registration for the second Space Security Challenge: Hack-A-Sat opened May 4, with the qualification event slated to run June 26-27. Teams will earn points for speed and accuracy in a “Jeopardy”-style round with a chance to win up to $10,000.

The top eight teams will move on to the next round, where they will compete in a “capture-the-flag-style hack-a-sat” final event on Sept. 17-19. Each team will be tasked with defending their own satellites while trying to simultaneously hack their opponents’ satellites. The department is looking for teams with advanced technical knowledge of space systems, according to a May 4 release.

The first-place winner will receive $50,000; second place will win $30,000; and third place will earn $20,000.

“The first Hack-A-Sat was a tremendous success in bringing together a diverse group of government, commercial, and private organizations and individuals to test and develop cybersecurity solutions for our unique space networks,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, in the release.

The inaugural event brought in 2,000 teams consisting of some 6,000 hackers, and the final event included the first-ever on-orbit hacking challenge.

“The security and cyber-resiliency of our on-orbit systems is an absolute necessity as we look to ensure the peaceful development of the global commons of space over the coming decades,” Thompson added. “This required a multitude of specialties, so partnerships across the entire professional cybersecurity spectrum are vital to developing the next-generation of secure space systems.”

Although last year marked the first Hack-a-Sat challenge, the first Hack the Air Force event in May 2017 also targeted space assets. The Defense Department first opened its doors to white hat hackers in 2016 in the inaugural Hack the Pentagon event.

To register, visit