Should Space be Considered Critical Infrastructure by Governments?

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.

Maybe Yes…

Here are some factors that may support the argument that space should be considered critical infrastructure:

Economic Impact

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.

National Security

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.

Scientific Research

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.

International Cooperation

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.

Technological Advancement

Space exploration and related technologies often lead to groundbreaking innovations with applications beyond the space industry, such as advances in computing, materials science, and medicine.

Maybe No…

However, there are also arguments against considering space as critical infrastructure:

Cost

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.

Space Debris

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.

Geopolitical Tensions

The militarization of space, driven in part by the growing importance of space-based assets, could contribute to geopolitical tensions and destabilize international relations.

It Depends…

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.