Space is a historically researched field by a number of governments, as it is a challenging subject that demands comprehensive, high-quality investigation and therefore substantial financing. More recently, with the increasing popularity of private space companies like SpaceX, space has become a non-exclusive field. Now, however, it appears that the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies, the technology of the blockchain, is increasingly attracting the attention of the big players in the space industry.
Big space industry players explore blockchain technology
Space giants like NASA, the U.S. National Aeronautics, and Space Administration, and ESA, the European Space Agency, are exploring possibilities for exploiting the blockchain technology for their missions.
The results to date indicated that the technology might be useful both in the area of facilitation of data-related procedures and in other relevant areas, such as space exploration and deep space navigability.
NASA explores the use of blockchain technology
In 2017, NASA made a $330,000 donation to assist in the construction of a stand-alone spacecraft system based on the blockchain, the first step toward endorsing the blockchain technology.
The so-called Resilient Computing and Networking Paradigm (RNCP) system is powered by blockchain technology and is not a human-dependent technology, as depicted by Dr. Jin Wei Kocsis, an associate professor of engineering and computer science at the University of Akron.
As Kocsis points out, RNCP will look at the implementation of smart contracts on the Ethereum network in the context of developing a secure computer system for use in case of difficult spatial conditions.
ESA considers the application of the blockchain in its administrative processes
The European Space Agency (ESA) has also been looking into the blockchain technology implementation, even though they are most likely to employ the blockchain technology to simplify internal administrative procedures, not to release it into deep space exploration like the US space agency.
In September 2017, ESA presented a briefing report titled “Distributed Ledger Technology: Leveraging Blockchain for ESA Success.” The paper discusses the overall pros and cons of the blockchain with a few specific illustrations and then specifically addresses the potential gains that the technology may offer to ESA.
These would include the deployment of smart contracts in the logistics, faster and more efficient payments, real-time data access, built-in access rights upgrades, and a seamless voting environment.