Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Blockchain lands on International Space Station

Steve Rogerson
December 11, 2019



Singapore-based SpaceChain has sent its blockchain hardware wallet technology to the International Space Station (ISS), aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of last week’s CRS-19 commercial resupply service mission.
 
This is the first technology demonstration of blockchain hardware on the ISS, and it will be installed in Nanoracks' commercial platform on the station. Texas-based Nanoracks develops products and services for the commercial use of space.
 
This is the third blockchain payload launched into space by SpaceChain in the past two years, advancing its vision of a decentralised orbital constellation for fintech and business applications. This ISS demonstration mission was made possible via Nanoracks and its Space Act agreement with Nasa.
 
Once activated, the payload will demonstrate the receipt, authorisation and retransmission of blockchain transactions, creating multisig transactions that require multiple signatures (approvals) to complete, increasing the security of the operation. All data will be both uplinked and downlinked directly through Nanoracks' commercial platform.
 
SpaceChain's implementation adds the remoteness and security of space infrastructure to blockchain technology to lay the foundation for a new generation of products built on its technology.
 
"The third payload launch is a significant milestone not just for SpaceChain but also towards 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."
 
This milestone is said to underscore SpaceChain's commitment to addressing land-based centralised infrastructure concerns, while accelerating technology advancement, international collaboration and adoption of space-as-a-service for modern businesses.
 
Earlier this year, SpaceChain was awarded funding by the European Space Agency under its Kick-Start Activity programme to develop and identify commercial use-cases for its satellite blockchain technology. By adding space-based payloads to established networks, businesses will be able to enhance the security of the transmission of digital assets that can be vulnerable to cyber attacks and hacking when hosted exclusively in centralised terrestrial servers.
 
"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.
 
Founded in 2017, SpaceChain is a community-based space platform that combines space and blockchain technologies to build an open-source blockchain-based satellite network, allowing users to develop and run applications in space.