An ambitious plan to launch bitcoin-enabled microsatellites has taken a step forward with a new business deal.
Dunvegan Space Systems, a startup led by bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik has signed a manufacturing contract with Deep Space Industries (DSI) that will find it constructing 24 nanosatellites for its proposed BitSat program.
The BitSat cluster will act as space-bound bitcoin nodes and is the first of a planned series of nanosatellites. Additional BitSats will be available for purchase at $1m apiece, according to the company.
Garzik told CoinDesk the launch phase of the project will begin sometime after the first quarter of next year, noting that ultimately, the goal is to create resources capable of propagating the blockchain in a self-sufficient manner.
“When the satellite is capable of fully processing the blockchain, it does not need to trust a ground station to send it authentic data. The satellite itself is capable of making that evaluation, that decision on its own.”
The partnership between the two companies was announced in April.
At the time, the two firms announced the collaboration on the BitSat program but details were limited regarding pricing or when the nanosatellites would be launched.
Cubesats for the blockchain
The cubesats are being pitched as a platform for space-based cloud computing, according to the promotional materials for the BitSat program.
“DSS handles the spacecraft, launch and ongoing mission operations during the five-year lifespan of the satellite,” Garzik told CoinDesk. “This is a large cost reduction from traditional satellites, thanks to the cubesat form factor.
In a statement, DSI chief executive Daniel Faber said that the interests of his company are broadly aligned with those of Dunvegan, noting:
“DSI’s long-term goal of harvesting space resources is well known, and our first steps involve developing nimble, low cost spacecraft that turn out to be very similar to the needs of Dunvegan.”
The initial deployment stage will see four satellites placed into orbit, with the rest of the array being deployed over time. Once all 24 satellites are deployed, Garzik said, the system will be capable of providing “continuous global coverage”.