Art. 03 – Vol. 28 – No. 3 – 2018

A critical space infrastructure perspective on Romanian national security

Olga BUCOVEȚCHI1, Alexandru GEORGESCU2, Marilena LAZĂR3, Carmen CÎRNU
1 Romanian Association for Space Industry and Technology
2 Romanian Association for Space Industry and Technology
3 Equipment and Technologies Research Agency
4 National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics,,,

Abstract: Critical infrastructures are vital sociotechnical systems whose destruction or disruption would have a significant impact on the functioning of society on multiple levels. There is a growing body of literature which argues that space systems are a new category of critical infrastructures, with their own specific traits and exposure to a challenging security environment. This article presents the case for space systems as critical infrastructure and presents the relevance of these concepts to Romanian national security.

Keywords: e- space systems, critical infrastructures, resilience, national security.

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Olga BUCOVEȚCHI, Alexandru GEORGESCU, Marilena LAZĂR, Carmen CÎRNU, A critical space infrastructure perspective on Romanian national securit, Romanian Journal of Information Technology and Automatic Control, ISSN 1220-1758, vol. 28(3), pp. 31-40, 2018.


Space systems have become a key enabler for a wide variety of applications, through capabilities related to command, control and coordination, communication, data gathering, navigation, positioning, timing and others. These capabilities have increase in quality and steadily decreased in price, leading to new applications embraced by numerous beneficiaries on Earth, from individuals to companies running complex global supply chains or distributed databases. The figure below describes the applications of space systems with broad strokes.

Certain space systems end up performing vital functions, especially related to the upper levels of command and control, for critical infrastructure systems and systems-of-systems. Criticality entails that the disruption or destruction of the system would lead to material damages or even human losses, with the possibility of a propagated disruption through a wider system-of-systems based on the interdependencies between critical infrastructures (Katina and Hester, 2013). Critical infrastructures are generally thought of as pipelines, power plants, stock markets or hospitals, in accordance with the taxonomy developed by individual nations and the EU to classify these assets and develop sectorial protection policies. However, space systems have recently begun to be analyzed as critical infrastructures in themselves, not just critical components (Georgescu and Bucovețchi, 2017). This article briefly lists arguments in favor of this assertion and details trends in the field, after which it formulates the impact of critical space infrastructures (CSI) on Romanian National security.


Space systems are a critical enabler for a wide variety of applications which are integral to the functioning of critical infrastructure systems in any advanced society. Romania is one such society, which already registers a dependence on space systems, despite lacking its own space assets, and whose dependence is set to grow as it develops and increases relations with other developed nations and the world in general. This leads us to the necessity of articulating the probability that Romania suffers from an exposure to critical space infrastructure disruption risk which, if materialized, would reverberate through the entire system-of-systems. This would result not only in material damages and possibly loss of life, but also in the reduction of confidence on the part of citizens and investors in Romania and the loss of prestige.

Romania must find a way to manage and mitigate these risks, starting from modelling and simulation to understand the extent and specificities of its exposure, continuing with implementing mitigation measures such as investing in its own satellite capabilities and ending with an active presence in the collective bodies and initiatives which make up the emerging space governance framework.

The findings presented in this article are based on a research project – ‘Software applications for modelling critical infrastructure dependency on space systems’ – undertaken by the Romanian Association for Space Industry and Technology with the Military Equipment and Technologies Research Agency of the Romanian Ministry of Defense. The work was supported by a grant of the Program for Research, Development and Innovation for Space Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) administered by the Romanian Space Agency, project number 191/2017.


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