What is Critical Infrastructure?
Whether space should be considered a critical infrastructure by governments depends on how a government defines “critical infrastructure” and the extent to which it relies on space-related activities for its essential functions. In recent years, many governments have come to view space as a vital component of their economic, security, and scientific endeavors.
Here are some factors that may support the argument that space should be considered critical infrastructure:
Satellite-based services, such as GPS, telecommunications, and remote sensing, are essential to many industries, including agriculture, transportation, and disaster management. These industries have a significant impact on national economies.
Governments rely on satellite systems for strategic communications, reconnaissance, and early warning of potential threats. The secure and reliable operation of these systems is crucial for maintaining national security and military readiness.
Space-based research contributes to advancements in Earth observation, astronomy, and fundamental physics. This research can drive innovation, create jobs, and improve our understanding of the universe.
The space sector fosters international cooperation among governments, as well as between public and private entities. Collaborative projects, such as the International Space Station (ISS), promote diplomacy and peaceful cooperation between countries.
However, there are also arguments against considering space as critical infrastructure:
Space exploration and satellite development are expensive endeavors, and some argue that governments should prioritize investing in more immediate, terrestrial concerns, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
The increasing number of satellites and space debris pose a threat to operational satellites, and there are concerns that designating space as critical infrastructure might exacerbate the problem by encouraging more satellite launches.
Whether space should be considered a critical infrastructure by governments depends on the specific government's priorities, values, and reliance on space-related activities. The increasing importance of space for economic, security, and scientific purposes suggests that many governments may come to view space as a critical infrastructure in the years ahead.