Filecoin Foundation in association with aerospace corp Lockheed Martin announced to build a blockchain network in space, at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on May 23.
Billed as the Interplanetary File System, or IPFS is an open-source network that stores information that can be shared by users.
Joe Landon, VP of advanced programs development at Lockheed Martin Space, said the goal of the project is to develop a program for deploying the IPFS in space.
“We need to develop the technology to support a long-term presence in space without having to rely entirely on Earth-based communications and data storage,” Landon said.
According to its website, the Filecoin Foundation is a self-funded organization that facilitates governance of the Filecoin network — a blockchain-based cryptocurrency and digital payment system that builds on top of the IPFS.
Noting that today’s centralized internet model “just doesn’t work in space,” Marta Belcher, president, and chair of the Filecoin Foundation said
“Every time you click, that data has to be retrieved from a particular server in a particular place. That means that if you’re on the moon, there’s going to be a multi-second delay while that data travels from Earth, but with IPFS data isn’t retrieved by where it is, but rather by what it is, so it can be retrieved from whatever’s closest to you, eliminating that delay.”
Lockheed Martin and Filecoin plan to pick a spacecraft platform to host IPFS
In the ensuing months, Lockheed Martin and Filecoin will work to establish a spacecraft platform to host an IPFS payload that will transmit data back and forth between Earth and other spacecraft.
“We are starting out with an exploration phase that will include scoping the technical work required and identifying the right demonstration mission,” said Belcher. “Once we have identified the appropriate mission or missions, we’ll have a longer-term timeline.”
In the beginning, the initial payload demonstration is planned for low Earth orbit.
Further, the announcement post claims that IPFS would allow users to back up files and websites by hosting them across numerous nodes. Landon said this project aims to bring the benefits of decentralized storage systems to space.