Filecoin and Lockheed Martin Set to Bring Decentralised Storage into Space

May 25, 2022, 10:00 AM AEST - 1 month ago

Filecoin Foundation and the aerospace corporation Lockheed Martin (LMT) announced on May 24 that they’re working together to deploy Filecoin’s Interplanetary File System (IPFS) in space. 

The companies claim existing networking protocols that are adequate for terrestrial communication, such as HTTP, will not be suitable for space-based services due to their centralisation and significant latency when transferring data over vast distances.

Following the announcement, Filecoin’s (FIL) price briefly spiked about 10 percent before retracing the gains and returning to its pre-announcement price range.

Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions

According to Lockheed Martin’s vice president of advanced programs development, Joe Landon, the space economy is rapidly developing and requires new communications and data storage infrastructure to allow businesses and governments to take full advantage. 

Landon says Lockheed Martin’s collaboration with Filecoin will be an important next step in creating this new space-based infrastructure:

Soon, space will no longer just be a destination. It will be home to the new space economy, independent of Earth, [and] 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. 

Joe Landon, vice president, advanced programs development, Lockheed Martin

Collaboration Begins with Pilot Study

The Filecoin-Lockheed Martin collaboration starts with a study, to be completed by the end of August, which has three primary goals:

  • identify a spacecraft platform that can house the first space-based IPFS node;
  • define “mutual compatibility requirements” for the spacecraft and the IPFS node; and
  • identify demonstration missions to show off IPFS’s utility in space.

The early demonstration missions are planned to be low-Earth orbit missions, with long-term plans to conduct missions on the moon and eventually other planets.

IPFS Always Intended for Space Use

As its name suggests, Filecoin’s Interplanetary File System was always intended to be used in space. IPFS is a decentralised protocol for storing and sharing data, which uses content-addressing to uniquely identify files and then access them from the nearest available source, rather than from a centralised server. 

IPFS to reduce latency. Source: Filecoin Foundation

According to Filecoin Foundation’s president, Marta Belcher, IPFS has the potential to drastically reduce loading times and latency when used over the vast distances of space:

Today’s centralised internet model doesn’t work in space. On today’s internet, every time you click something, that data has to be retrieved from a centralised 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 travelling back and forth from Earth with every click.

Marta Belcher, president and chair, Filecoin Foundation

In other Filecoin news, last month its price surged over 52 percent in a single day following the announcement of its partnership with a new NFT ecosystem.

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