Blockchain As the Ultimate Backbone of Space Data
What makes space and blockchain technologies go hand in hand, just like that? Just like space offers endless possibilities, so does blockchain. Imagine a world (or the orbit, for that matter) and its data being more connected and more widely expanded in the means of scalability, prevalence, and security.
In today’s blog, we will explain how blockchain can help decentralize the space economy, making space services and goods far more accessible to everyone.
Satellites make it possible for us to watch thousands of TV channels, provide navigation for our cars and ships, help us find a pub in an unknown city, make our weather forecasts reliable, and our cities more efficiently built. There are numerous ways we can use satellites, and a large majority of people never gave a thought about what’s going on behind the scenes. What are the back-end processes needed to use data in our everyday lives, and how can we make these processes more secure, efficient, and widely available?
Satellites — we use them more than we’re aware of!
Many of us rarely think of how satellite data helps our everyday lives. Are you lost in an unfamiliar part of the city? The first thing most of us would do is to open our favorite maps app and navigate through it.
Or, you’re waiting for that package you’ve just ordered through eBay. For it to safely arrive at your address, the courier service will utilize satellite data for navigation, position tracking, weather forecast, etc.
We can agree on the fact that we need to eat to stay alive. And with a booming global population, it’s getting harder for agriculture to keep up. We need to grow more crops and grow them better. Not only are we using satellite images to track crop quality, with satellite data we can track crop growth, damage to crops from diseases, or even predict if there is a potential disaster ahead of us — and prevent total loss of the harvest.
Taking it up a notch
At this very moment, there are over 3,300 satellites in orbit around the Earth. By 2029 we can expect this number to reach, by some estimates, a staggering 57,000! Many of these will be imaging satellites, snapping pictures of our planet almost constantly. And bear in mind that an imaging satellite generates dozens of gigabytes of data per day. Add a generous amount of computing power needed to convert this received data into valuable insights, and you get some skyrocketing (pun intended) numbers.
Collecting and storing satellite data doesn’t come cheap.
First, there needs to be a ground station (or, in simple words, “an antenna”) to receive the data as the satellite passes above. Stations cost a lot to set up, especially if they have to be licensed to transmit signals and “ping” the satellite, telling it to send the data. The station also has maintenance costs and doesn’t really bring much value to the mission apart from its receiving/transmitting capability.
Finally, if we want to maximize the output of a satellite, we’ll want to have more ground stations — so that more locations can have antennas and “listen” to the satellite as it orbits the Earth and transmits data. If we have a significant number of seamlessly interconnected ground stations, we’ll receive the data often and deliver it to customers faster.
We have already talked about our means of a ground station services business model here.
At the end of the line, there is a need to store and process the data. Right now, corporate cloud providers are working to put all these data pipelines on their cloud, establishing monopolies over satellite data infrastructures. Of course, most antenna owners and space enterprises are forced to go down this route, because of the complexity and high price of setting up in-house data centers.
Blockchain to the rescue? Yes!
Blockchain allows us to go decentralized and depart from governmental and Big Tech companies’ resources. With the Ephemeris Protocol, we enable an entirely new era of space data infrastructures.
- Blockchain can solve a number of trust and validation issues in ground station services. These are now handled entirely by clumsy paper contracts but can be replaced almost entirely by smart contracts. This is how HomePort already operates, and the main way to interconnect ground stations across the globe quickly.
- A decentralized cloud already exists on the blockchain. Ephemeris Protocol enables its integration with the ground station network so that satellite data can be channeled directly into a zero-trust storage system that does not depend on a single company or private data centers for storage.
- A distributed computing grid provides the crunching firepower necessary to process those crude satellite images into a tidy dataset with commercial value. The Ephemeris Protocol has an incentive system for users to provide any device’s computing power to the grid, processing bits of satellite data in exchange for rewards. In simple words, a decentralized supercomputer operated by everyone, fully accessible to space companies.
- Straightforward and widely spread access to space data can supercharge agriculture, urban development, climate science, security, transportation, and weather services — in turn generating benefits for every human being. The Ephemeris Protocol enables the creation of decentralized marketplaces for satellite data, breaking up the bottlenecks in satellite imagery supply that make it almost impossible for smaller businesses to obtain valuable insights. More on this here.
- Within the Ephemeris framework, end-users such as space companies and agencies can monetize their products and services fairly. It’s not just data that can be offered — existing services can expand into any segment of a space mission as Ephemeris grows.
A new era is coming — the era of mass spaceflight. Everyone must benefit from this and get one step closer to fulfilling their dreams — whether it’s to be in orbit, or to power up their business using space goods. Ephemeris will ensure that our dreams are not owned by others because blockchain is the best tool to bring more space for everyone.