SpaceChain has sent its blockchain hardware wallet technology to the International Space Station (ISS). It travelled aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of today’s CRS-19 commercial resupply service mission. Earlier this year, SpaceChain was awarded funding by the European Space Agency (ESA) under its Kick-start Activity program, to develop and identify commercial use-cases for its satellite blockchain technology.
“The third payload launch is a significant milestone not just for SpaceChain but also toward the development of the New Space Economy,” said Zee Zheng, SpaceChain co-founder and CEO.
“The integration of space and blockchain technologies has uncovered new possibilities and opportunities and we are very excited about the prospect of working closely with financial service providers and fintech developers, IoT service providers, research institutions and space agencies in the coming months to further accelerate advancements within the ecosystem.”
SpaceChain, Nanoracks and the ISS
The SpaceChain package, the first technology demonstration of blockchain hardware on the ISS, will install in Nanoracks’ commercial platform on the ISS. The demonstration mission is possible because of Nanoracks and its Space Act agreement with NASA.
Nanoracks has two research platforms permanently installed on the U.S. National Laboratory aboard the International Space Station. Each of the platforms holds up to 16 Nanoracks payloads in the CubeSat form factor (with payloads called NanoLabs) where each payload is 4 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches (100mm x100mm x 100mm).
Typically, a payload flies to and installs on the ISS for up to 30 days. Power and daily data downloads are handled through the existing ISS communication system. In one sense, as Nanoracks describes, this: “is the ultimate plug and play”.
SpaceChain on the ISS
Once activated, the SpaceChain payload will:
- demonstrate the receipt, authorization, and retransmission of blockchain transactions
- create multisig transactions which require multiple signatures (approvals) to complete, thereby increasing the security of the operation.
All data will uplink/downlink directly through Nanoracks’ commercial platform. SpaceChain’s implementation seeks to prove the remoteness and security of space infrastructure is not an inhibitor to blockchain technology. In so doing it will lay a foundation for a new generation of products.
For SpaceChain, this milestone:
- underscores its commitment to addressing land-based centralised infrastructure concerns
- accelerates technology advancement, international collaboration and adoption of space-as-a-service for modern businesses.
“Blockchain is the next major disruptor in space,” said Jeff Garzik, SpaceChain co-founder and CTO. “SpaceChain addresses security vulnerabilities for financial systems and digital assets in the growing digital economy. Through integrating technologies, new paradigms that were once beyond reach can now be created and add exciting elements in the New Space Economy.”
SpaceChain expects the testing of this payload to be completed by early 2020.
SpaceChain is a community-based space platform that:
- combines space and blockchain technologies to build the world’s first open-source blockchain-based satellite network
- enables users to develop and run applications in space.
SpaceChain’s decentralised technology aims to a catalyst for the creation of the ‘New Space Economy’, by making:
- the development of space applications easier
- space more accessible for a number of industries.
Its first application is this space-based multisig technology, which is relevant to financial services.
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
By adding space-based payloads to established networks, businesses may be able to enhance the security of the transmission of digital assets that otherwise might be vulnerable to cyberattacks and hacking when hosted exclusively in centralised terrestrial servers. This, at least, is what SpaceChain hope to prove.
SpaceChain has made rapid progress since obtaining the ESA support. The use of Nanoracks and its Nanolabs concept lofted out of the atmosphere on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 is an intriguing demonstration of how technology is moving on – even in the world of ledgers.