Agent-based modeling (ABM)-support for emphasizing the air transport infrastructure dependence on space systems

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Critical infrastructure is foundational for the prosperity and quality of life in any society. By definition, its destruction or disruption would cause severe damage and possibly loss of life. Within this understanding, space systems are a new category of critical infrastructure, emerging as an enabler of new applications which are critical within the wider system-of-systems. This paper presents the results of a modeling exercise validating the proof of concept regarding the idea of the global, air-transport-critical infrastructure’s dependence on space systems. By using an open-source application, the authors constructed a complex system made up of 18 airports for which six scenarios were modeled that represent either the exposure to specific space phenomena or the effects of a partial or total critical space infrastructure disruption. Despite the limitations and assumptions made in the building of this model, its results suggest that a significant impact would result from disruptive events, with the potential for cascading disruptions within the system, beyond the system under analysis, and into the wider system-of-systems. Tools such as this model are useful to policy- and decision-makers, not only to protect existing, critical infrastructures, but also to adequately source future risks, vulnerabilities, and threats, and design and build new infrastructures.
space systems, modeling, air transport, critical infrastructures, governance