On Friday, the Japanese space agency announced it is investigating a possible leak of data about its Epsilon rocket due to a computer virus.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said the virus, in a computer at its Tsukuba Space Centre, north-east of Tokyo, was found to be secretly collecting data and sending it outside the agency.
“The data stolen from the space agency included information about the Epsilon, a solid-fuel rocket still under development,” Fackler said. “While the Epsilon is intended to launch satellite and space probes, solid-fuel rockets of that size can also have a military use as intercontinental ballistic missiles.”
“The Epsilon, whose first launching is scheduled for next autumn, will also feature new technology that will allow it to be remotely controlled by a personal computer,” he added.
Government officials say their space agency network may have been compromised after an agency individual’s personal computers was infected by spyware on November 21. It was immediately disconnected from the local area network, officials said, adding that a search is underway to identify the culprit.
It remains unclear exactly what data was compromised. Japanese space agency officials say they suspect that the leaked data includes the rocket’s parameters, specifics of its engine maintenance and protocols on agency’s meetings.
While the Epsilon is intended to launch satellite and space probes, it can also have a military use as an intercontinental ballistic missile. The Epsilon will also feature new technology that will allow to be remotely controlled by a personal computer, making it far cheaper to launch than conventional rockets.
The Epsilon, to be launched next year, will also feature technology to allow it to be remotely controlled with a computer.