Filecoin Foundation Announces First Mission to Deploy Decentralized File System in Space
Effort Will Use the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) to Speed Up Communications Across Long Distances
Filecoin Foundation (FF) announced today a first-of-its-kind mission to deploy the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) in space. The mission will take place in 2023 aboard Lockheed Martin’s LM 400 Technology Demonstrator spacecraft.
Previously, in May 2022 in Davos, FF announced an initial effort with Lockheed Martin to deploy IPFS in space to improve the speed of data transfer across long distances. This mission is the next step in that project, bringing the benefits of decentralized storage to space and exploring use cases for how IPFS can enable better interplanetary communication and data transfer.
“From the beginning, IPFS was envisioned as a technology that can enable networking across ‘interplanetary’ distances,” said Marta Belcher, president and chair of Filecoin Foundation. “Today’s centralized internet model doesn’t work in space. Let’s say you’re on the moon and you’re retrieving data from Earth; each time you retrieve that data, there will be a multi-second delay. With IPFS, data doesn’t need to go back and forth from Earth with every click. That’s because, with IPFS, data is identified by what it is rather than where it is. Each piece of content has a unique ‘content ID.’ When you look for a piece of content, that content is retrieved from wherever is closest, rather than always being retrieved from a particular server. That means if someone nearby on the moon has already retrieved that data, it only has to travel a short distance and can get to you quickly instead of traveling back and forth from Earth with every click.”
This mission is the first of its kind to evaluate in-space use cases for decentralized storage. It will be hosted aboard Lockheed Martin’s self-funded LM 400 Technology Demonstrator – a software-defined satellite about the size of a refrigerator, designed to support a wide range of missions and customers. Once the spacecraft is in orbit, it will use its SmartSat™ software-defined satellite technology to upload and perform the IPFS demonstration.
“The LM 400 Tech Demonstrator mission will showcase how IPFS can make larger quantities of data from space available to multiple ground-based applications in simpler ways,” remarked Joe Landon, vice president and general manager of lunar infrastructure services at Lockheed Martin. “It will serve as the foundational infrastructure to enable more efficient interplanetary communication for our collective, long-term presence in Earth orbit, at the moon, and beyond.”
The mission will demonstrate a space-to-ground communication use case for IPFS. Data from space will be “content-addressed” using IPFS and made available on the IPFS network through a ground station. Applications using IPFS will be able to retrieve the data from the IPFS network, without needing to know the location of the specific ground station holding the data.
IPFS is a decentralized protocol for storing and sharing data that uses content-addressing to uniquely identify files. IPFS is a foundational technology for the Filecoin network, a cryptocurrency-powered decentralized storage network. The IPFS software layer for space is designed to be usable for a wide range of use cases and architectures and topologies, including space-to-space communication. The software is open-source licensed and is being developed in public.
About Filecoin Foundation
Filecoin Foundation (FF) facilitates governance of the Filecoin network, funds research and development projects for decentralized web technologies, and supports the growth of the Filecoin ecosystem and community. Its mission is to preserve humanity’s most important information.