Design, Integrate & Liftoff!
Find out more about what goes on behind SpaceChain’s all-in-one
Blockchain Space Mission, Design & Management Service
Delivering an end-to-end solution for payload deployment has been key to SpaceChain’s mission from the get-go. It has always been our intention that a client, even without detailed prior-knowledge of the satellite industry, can come to us and we can collaborate with them on developing a mission goal, building the software, designing the payload, integrating it into satellite templates, and then brokering the launch and delivery.
Such comprehensive integration between our software, hardware and mission management helps clients to avoid supplier conflicts, delays, imperfect integration and the extra-costs that such setbacks naturally cause.
Our work with Velas, the world’s fastest Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) blockchain for smart contracts and dApps, offers an excellent insight into what we can achieve for a client. The International Space Station (ISS) launch project has gone from a March commencement to its November 2022 delivery in less than nine months. Proof of what can be done in a short time when efficient structures are put in place.
An out of this world solution
Velas sought to collaborate with us on a comprehensive and complex brief, underpinned by a need for a secure system which is simple to use for its end users.
They came to us for two reasons, the first of which were security concerns. They had seen that satellite ground segments (especially those used for the ISS) often have aerospace/military grade protection. This would ensure that any space node utilizes the most secure connection possible via an encrypted uplink and downlink channel, whilst negating the risk of physical tampering.
Secondly, as one of the first of its kind, the installation was designed to push forward the envelope as to what was possible, and a smooth operation was vital to ensure successful proof of concept. Velas wanted to push the boundaries for decentralized networks, enabling users to create streamlined crypto transactions, even with poor ground internet infrastructure.
Building, testing, launching and testing again
To enable this, a three-tier programme was developed for a gradual rollout of capabilities. The first of these was an uplink which installed software on existing satellites to enable basic uploads and downloads. It is this which represents part of SpaceChain’s goal of forming a wider mesh network between new and existing satellites.
To expand capacity further, two launches were planned: one as a small satellite or light node launch and the other as a full node launch on the ISS, to be installed as part of a re-supply mission. The aim was to deliver in less than a year, the installation of two future-proofed nodes within a decentralized orbital network.
This in turn required negotiating launch costs, passing NASA’s ISS Safety Panel, full system design and integrating software with hardware. For the satellite, a Spire LEO nanosatellite was chosen to act as the template around which the hardware would be built. The hardware board and software were designed internally by SpaceChain and tested thoroughly to meet the most rigorous standards.
The software was designed to be compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This widely used system is easily accessible to developers and can be adapted to a variety of use cases, increasing the long-term viability of the scheme.
A direct, encrypted API connection between satellite and ground station has ensured that data security is far superior than could be expected on a ground-based node.
Proving the DeFi dream & the future of blockchain
If proof of concept was the intention, we have certainly achieved this. Farhad Shagulyamov, co-founder and CEO of Velas described the mission as part of ‘A new epoch in the development of blockchain…part of the progressive, technology led decentralization of finance and a great step in handing back security and power to individuals.’
As part of Velas’ new expanded capabilities, the node can securely sign and store the ledger in space for simple transactions such as sending VLX tokens and NFTs, whilst also expanding its remit to more complex functions such as multisignature payments and smart contracts.
Both launches were conducted through SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The space node that launched in January 2022 has been successfully implemented and orbit tested, and the network is fully up and running. The latest space node launched in November 2022 is currently being installed onto the ISS, thereafter we will be conducting the orbit test, which will take roughly a month to complete.
Going forward, SpaceChain is already working on new tech to help clients deploy high-speed and high throughput blockchain and decentralized finance applications in space with a variety of exciting developments to announce over the next year.
If you wish to make your vision a reality, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org