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NASA Embraces Blockchain For Tracking Air Traffic

NASA is one of the latest big players that have embraced the Bitcoin-based blockchain technology in order to curb the cyber attacks on aerospace agents. As of recently, the blockchain and Bitcoin (BTC) crypto industry are making advancements everywhere, known for their ability to hold massive amounts of data in multiple locations.

NASA Among the First Big Blockchain Pioneers

This is why the US space agency NASA is looking forward to considering the benefits of blockchain technology. In fact, NASA and its engineer Ronald Reisman believe that the blockchain technology and all the communication systems within it could be the key to stopping spoofing and the denial of the service attacks that are currently present on American air-traffic control systems.

Notional design of blockchain mitigated channels of communication. Chaincode (aka ‘Smart Contracts’) routes the information appropriately between aircraft and the ground – based ATM and other support services.

As of recently, the  United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has proposed an air traffic management blockchain solution that was first published in a paper submitted on the agency’s official website on January 10th.

The Project is Expected to Kick Off in 2020

A solid proof for this is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system which is supposed to be launched in 2020. However, according to NASA’s Reisman, the system is already at risk of a cyber attack. In that way, the ADS-B surveillance technology could help NASA to determine the position of each aircraft via satellite technology, tracking it on the ledgers (via blockchain).

As the official document notes:

“This framework features certificate authority, smart contract support, and higher-bandwidth communication channels for private information that may be used for secure communication between any specific aircraft and any particular authorized member.”

ADS-B, however, won’t secure the aircraft’s’ flight plans and positions, presenting a variety of problems. Some of them include the susceptibility to spoofing, the denial of service (DoS) and other attacks. NASA has reportedly started preparing the use of an open-source permissioned blockchain framework to ADS-B’s vulnerabilities.

Securing and Improving the Communication Between Authorized Agents and Minimizing Risks

This form of blockchain architecture could secure and improve the communication between the authorized (aircraft) agents and minimizing the risk of tech-savvy criminals that may gain access in an easy way.

Meanwhile, the Aviation Blockchain Infrastructure (ABI) is an organization that is powered by the Linux Hyperledger Fabric and smart contracts. As such, it comes with a state channel that lets users control their data and how they share it – whether publicly or privately among authorized entities.

Currently, it remains to be seen whether NASA will integrate this blockchain solution into their ADS-B system.


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