Consensys Space — Crowdsourcing Solutions to Track Orbital Satellite Traffic Jams

Richard Kastelein
Oct 25 · 3 min read

ConsenSys Space, established by blockchain company ConsenSys after it acquired Planetary Resources nearly a year ago, rolled out a project called TruSat during an event here tied to the 70th International Astronautical Congress. ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin announced the new establishment with former CEO, Chris Lewicki, and General Counsel, Brian Israel, of Planetary Resources recently.

According to the TruSat Whitepaper:

TruSat is an experimental open-source, open-sensor system for creating a trusted record of satellite orbits. TruSat is primarily designed to enable the assessment of satellite operations in light of space sustainability standards. Space sustainability is about preserving the use of outer space, and all of its socio-economic benefits, for present and future generations.

As a practical matter, this means mitigating orbital debris, which can render orbits around Earth unusable for generations. Amid projections of a tenfold or more increase in the number of satellites in low Earth orbit (“LEO”), avoiding collisions between satellites is an increasingly urgent focus for space sustainability, and enlightened satellite operators, governments, and civil society are working to define guidelines, best practices, and standards for sustainable orbital operations. A crucial gap in these efforts is the absence of an open, widely-trusted source of data about the orbital position of satellites accessible for use in assessing compliance with these sustainability standards.

To fill this data gap, the TruSat System is designed to enable the emerging space sustainability community to “task” a global network of citizen satellite observers to track satellites of interest, utilizing ubiquitous consumer hardware, and to assemble observations from around the planet into a trusted record of orbital positions suitable for measuring orbital behavior against sustainability standards. The TruSat System comprises three elements:

  1. Software for prioritizing satellite observations, assisting amateur satellite observers, and processing observations into orbital predictions;
  2. Observers who make and report satellite observations; and
  3. An interface with the space sustainability community for aligning the System’s satellite observation priorities with sustainability priorities.

According to the firm’s tweet posted on Oct. 22, Trusat aims to tackle the problem of space debris that could damage Earth’s space infrastructure.

We’re thrilled so many joined us for the launch of #TruSat by @Consensys_Space. TruSat is an experiment in democratizing & diversifying space endeavors, enabling any person to make a direct contribution to the long-term sustainability of outer space. https://t.co/7JKFDeAL0u pic.twitter.com/0tI7noLiHm

— ConsenSysEvents (@ConsenSysEvents) October 22, 2019

Consensys further explains on the TruSat website:

“Space debris is a problem. You are the solution. The number of satellites is increasing by 25x. Collisions threaten the technology we depend on every day and our spacefaring future.”

“TruSat is an early prototype. To fulfill the vision, TruSat needs your talents, your ideas, your time. Whether you want to track satellites, contribute to the software, or share TruSat with your community, we hope you’ll be part of the solution.”

TruSat is a citizen-powered, open-source system for creating a globally-accessible, trusted record of satellite orbital positions.

  • TruSat is primarily designed to enable the assessment of satellite operations in the context of space sustainability standards.
  • Citizen satellite trackers are the eyes of the TruSat system
  • The TruSat software merges observations of a satellite from around the world into a transparent record of its location.
  • Space sustainability advocates keep the system focused on the highest space sustainability priorities. And they can use TruSat’s transparent record to foster accountability for sustainable orbital operations.
  • The TruSat Open Source Community maintains and advances the TruSat software.

According the to the Whitepaper ConsenSys has broad business interests in developing and growing the Ethereum ecosystem and they believe that enabling large-scale, global collective action is among the most transformative potential applications of Ethereum blockchain technology, and is investing in solving space-related collective action challenges as R&D to accelerate the realization of this potential.

Taking a long view, they believe the potential applications blockchain technology in space exploration and commerce are vast and ConsenSys’ present space R&D represents long-term investments in developing Ethereum’s full potential, on Earth and beyond.


Originally published at Blockchain News.

Richard Kastelein

Written by

Father. Husband, Tokenomist, Publisher, Writer, Entrepreneur, Fellow Royal Society Of Arts, Dutch-Canadian based in Groningen, Netherlands

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