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How Blockchain Is Igniting The Space Race

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As of The Space Report’s 2020 Q2 release, the global space economy has grown to a whopping $423.8 billion dollars. Now, quite a number of companies are vying for a piece of the space pie. To fund their desire, many experts believe that they will turn to blockchain technology to help them get there. 


What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a technology that was designed to help facilitate greater connection and create a safer internet. Blockchains are designed to empower people and break the barriers to information. It is a technological tool that is designed to help people empower themselves. 


Blockchain seems to be the foundation of all forms of transactions in the future. The blockchain is the digital database that disintermediates and records the transactions between parties. This is achieved by cryptographically securing the records and replicating its data across a distributed network across many locations. 


These peculiar features of the blockchain allow it to operate as a self-sufficient network without a central authority. With the blockchain, several services such as payments, notary functions, supply chain management, identity, and digital rights management can be taken over for the better. 


Blockchain and the Space Race

In regards to space activities, blockchain technology started making headlines in 2017 when the European Space Agency (ESA) started investigating the role that the blockchain could play in adapting the Agency for Space 4.0. The value of blockchain technology, the way the technology itself works, what it can be used for, and how it may be applied to space are some of the areas that are being actively considered. By correlating the blockchain to the space race, a new world and a plethora of application opportunities have opened up that may help further usher in the corporate adoption of cryptocurrency.


Estimates show that as the private spaceflight industry continues to grow exponentially, it will likely hit the trillion-dollar mark by 2040. As the industry continues to grow, blockchain technology is seen as a way of shaking up the status quo and spicing things up in an industry dominated by nation-states and large companies. 


Privatizing Space - Which Companies to Watch?

The sheer amount of money needed to enter the space game has discouraged many, making the select few, which are governments and the large private companies like SpaceX, the only ones who can get a seat at the table. With the introduction of the blockchain into the game, the cost of entry into the space world is greatly reduced, making entrance accessible for ordinary folks like you and me. 


Consensys & SpaceChain

Sometime in November 2019, Consensys announced that it planned to track space debris using the Ethereum blockchain. The month before that, SpaceChain received funding from the European Space Agency to build a blockchain-based satellite network. The claims they made are as ambitious as they are vague, but bring hope that this emerging technology will be useful for more than empowering the financial sector here on Earth. From Consensys stating that “blockchain will decentralize space endeavors” to SpaceChain promising to “build a community-based space platform”, we, the individuals, can start to have the same experience that was only available to powerful governments or multinational corporations.


Spacebit’s Plan to Democratize Space

One of such small companies which intend to take advantage of blockchain technology is Spacebit. According to Spacebit’s website, it promises to ‘democratize access to space by tokenizing all of our commercial space missions around the Earth, the Moon and beyond.’


The small company even promises to perform better than one of the great pioneers in the industry, SpaceX, for half the price by using the blockchain to send an unmanned lunar rover to the Moon by 2021. The partnership between Spacebit and the US-based space company, Astrobotic further boosts confidence in the company’s ability to deliver on its promise. 


TruSat’s Solution for Decentralizing Satellite Tracking

Space is too spacious, pun unintended, which results in too much traffic near Earth. As there are too many satellites that orbit the planet, along with the billions of messages that circulate the world, there is the risk that they will crash into each other and clog up the space lanes with debris. 


The involvement of blockchain in this mess is problematic for some. Some are worried that the government bodies that are tracking satellite movements are not dependable enough. 


One of the potential solutions is the project TruSat which states itself to be a ‘citizen-powered, open-source system for creating a globally accessible, trusted record of satellite orbital positions.’ The general idea behind the project is that the satellites are usually visible to the naked eye. If TruSat can allow enough people on Earth to upload pictures to its app, then the Ethereum-based blockchain system can work out the locations of the satellites as they spin around the earth. 


The information that TruSat is armed with makes it highly valuable to more than just blockchain technology. It will also prevent satellite collisions. The project will also enforce accountability from satellite owners in the absence of official space policy.


What’s Next for the Blockchain Space Race?

The relationship between the blockchain and the space industry is mutually beneficial, with one improving the other. With the blockchain’s entry into the space game, many other players now have the opportunity to toss their hat into the ring, creating a wide array of new and exciting opportunities, just as we saw with the introduction of crypto kiosks in the financial sector once cryptocurrency became more mainstream.


When money, politics, and war enter the discussion (which they already have), we can expect the blockchain space race to continue to ignite at unprecedented levels. Expect to see this technology entering the headlines more frequently over the next few years as the benefits begin to enter the limelight.

June 14, 2021