How many supporters of the technology behind Bitcoin are also interested in extending that technology into Earth orbit? You may have heard about Jeff Garzik’s plan to launch satellites loaded with Bitcoin nodes into orbit not that long ago. The new Bitnation Space Agency is interested in taking a more active role in decentralizing space efforts. I was able to catch up with Chief Operations Officer Iman Mirbioki for a brief interview.
HH: How about you tell us a little about the Bitnation Space Agency?
IM: Bitnation Space Agency is a decentralized organization and all (almost) our technology is open source, free for everyone to use. The objective is to cut down the costs of space travel and develop new technologies that will take us to Earth orbit and beyond. Most of a space mission is administrative costs – bureaucracy.
If you take away the material costs and the salary for the people working directly with a space mission – ~80% to be exact (source: ESA) is administrative costs that are very, very unnecessary. By removing the bureaucracy, we can lower the cost of reaching space and other celestial bodies.
With current funding and technology, we’re going to make our first human space flight 5 years from now – but until then, we’ve visited the moon several times for robotic missions.
Please see: http://www.spacechain.org/plan20152020.html for our 5-years plan
You can also find more information about the agencies objectives at http://www.spacechain.org/mission_about.html
HH: What are your current plans?
IM: Right now, all focus is on our high-altitude balloon experiment. It’s very important that electronic components don’t fail in the harsh environment of space, so we’re sending up our electronics for stress-test. It wouldn’t be a good thing to lose contact with an object travelling at orbital speed because of malfunctioning components.
We’re also building a prototype 2.2 m rocket to test our abilities in rocket-science. If it all fells out well, the next rocket will be headed for LEO. (Low Earth Orbit ~300 km altitude) One another project is coming to an end, and that’s our multi-drone experiment for developing a navigational software which turned out to be very successful.
HH: What inspired you to associate with BitNation for this effort?
IM: I’m a politician and I’ve been advocating decentralization of monetary and political power for years. Bitnation seemed to be the perfect platform to start a space organization.
HH: What strengths do you think decentralized technologies like the Blockchain can bring to a space effort?
IM: First of all, space-science requires enormous computing power in many different areas.
Secondly, by decentralizing the communication using Blockchain, radio-amateurs can plug in their equipment and relay data to/from our satellites/payloads/rockets or any other vessel.
Unlike large space organizations, we still don’t have any communication-relay infrastructure – ground or space -based. By using Blockchain-technology, we’re able to overcome this obstacle. This is however only one of few uses of Blockchain in space-science. The computing power can be used by scientist, students, hobbyist or literally anyone to analyze their results.
HH: How can the average person who may see aerospace as something for wealthy elites like Richard Branson become involved in space efforts like yours?
IM: There’s a huge difference between BSA (Bitnation Space Agency) and other companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, etc; they’re all big companies with almost no transparency.
BSA is decentralized, which means, anyone on the planet can join us and do what they do best. Everyone is welcome to share their expertise and take part of our knowledge.
You don’t have to be Mr. Branson to reach space, although even Mr. Branson is more than welcome to join us.