Space as Critical Infrastructure to Enhance Cybersecurity

Global network view from space. Credit: Yurchanka Siarhei,

Article: Industry panel: U.S. space systems need protection against cyber attacks (’s Sandra Erwin reports on a recent industry panel held in Washington D.C. on October 19, 2021. The panel discussed the need to consider space systems critical infrastructure due to its unique technologies and capabilities combined with its interdependence with other critical infrastructure sectors. Dawn Beyer, senior fellow at Lockheed Martin, was quoted saying “We’re still debating whether space is critical infrastructure, meanwhile of all the domains, space is the furthest behind when it comes to cybersecurity.” Another industry vet, Samuel Visner, technical fellow at MITRE and member of the ISAC board of directors, noted that “Our adversaries see space as critical to their national interest, they see space as critical to our national interest, and frankly I think they see it as a vulnerability to our national interest that they can exploit.” Erwin noted that in June, the congressional aerospace caucus introduced the Space Infrastructure Act which, if passed, would direct the Department of Homeland Security to designate space systems, services, and technology as a critical infrastructure sector.

I felt compelled to address this article to point out how new the field of space systems cybersecurity really is. We’re struggling to define the problem all the while threat actors are able to exploit vulnerabilities in space networks that have a broad impact to our national interests. Defining space as a critical infrastructure sector won’t solve the problem, but certainly it would identify space systems cybersecurity as a national priority and help to move the conversation forward.