Filecoin Foundation and Lockheed Martin Bring Decentralized Storage to Space
The companies are working together to deploy the Interplanetary File System in space as key digital infrastructure to transform how data is shared in the space economy
Filecoin Foundation (FF) and Lockheed Martin are working together to develop a program for deploying the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) in space.
The space economy is rapidly emerging, and space-based services are increasingly used for everything from communication, to GPS, to environmental monitoring. As more tools are put into orbit, and as private space development and exploration continues, building out communications infrastructure in space is key to ensuring the space economy can thrive. This collaboration is the next step in establishing critical infrastructure that will transform how we share and access data in space.
“Soon, space will no longer just be a destination. It will be home to the new space economy, independent of Earth,” said Joe Landon, vice president of advanced programs development, Lockheed Martin. “The work we’re doing with Filecoin reinforces an investment in building space infrastructure. We need to develop the technology to support a long-term presence in space.”
IPFS is a decentralized protocol for storing and sharing data using content-addressing to uniquely identify files. IPFS is a foundational technology for the Filecoin network, a cryptocurrency-powered decentralized storage network. Lockheed Martin builds satellites and spacecraft that drive space innovation for government and commercial customers. FF and Lockheed Martin’s Space team will collaborate to bring the benefits of decentralized storage systems to space.
“From the beginning, IPFS was envisioned as a technology that can make interplanetary networking possible; the ‘I’ in IPFS stands for ‘interplanetary,’” said Marta Belcher, president and chair of Filecoin Foundation. “Today’s centralized Internet model doesn’t work in space. On today’s Internet, every time you click something, that data has to be retrieved from a centralized server; if you’re on the Moon, there will be a multi-second delay with every click, as content is retrieved from Earth. Using IPFS, data does not need to go back and forth from Earth with every click; instead, when you put in an IPFS ‘content ID,’ that content is retrieved from wherever is closest, rather than being retrieved from a particular server in a particular place. That means if someone else nearby on the Moon has already retrieved that data, the data only has to travel a short distance and can get to you quickly instead of traveling back and forth from Earth with every click.”
Ultimately, by minimizing the number of times that data has to be transmitted to Earth and return to space, IPFS’s decentralized storage model will enable more efficient data transfer and communication in space. This decentralized storage model could also alleviate burdens for the amount of onboard storage capacity for spacecraft exploring planets and other celestial bodies.
As initial steps, between now and the end of August 2022, Lockheed Martin and Filecoin Foundation will conduct an initial study to:
- Identify a spacecraft platform to house an initial IPFS payload — the element that will relay mission data between Earth, other spacecraft, and itself;
- Define mutual compatibility requirements for the spacecraft bus — the main body of the satellite and IPFS payload; and
- Pinpoint opportunities for demonstration missions that harness IPFS’s utility in space.
This project requires designing for considerations around power, mass, and volume and ensuring the electronics will function in space. The initial payload demonstration is designed to focus on a Low-Earth Orbit mission, with eventual plans for lunar and interplanetary use.
About Lockheed Martin Space
Going to space is just the beginning. It’s what you do when you get there that matters. We build satellites and spacecraft that do amazing things in space for government and commercial customers. We’ve partnered with NASA to explore every planet in our solar system. Lockheed Martin-built satellites give earlier warning of severe weather, connect troops on the battlefield, and deliver GPS directions to a billion people worldwide. As we look to the future, we’re driving innovations to help our customers do even more in orbit. That’s why we’re designing smarter satellites that operate like smartphones in the sky, with apps that can be updated in orbit so they can adapt as mission needs on the ground change.
About Filecoin Foundation
Filecoin is a decentralized storage system designed to store humanity’s most important information. Filecoin Foundation (FF) is an independent organization that facilitates governance of the Filecoin network, funds critical development projects, supports the growth of the Filecoin ecosystem, and advocates for Filecoin and the decentralized web.