NASA Considers Blockchain Based Air Traffic Management

By Sumedha Bose

With Elon Musk and startups like Space X, one of the most trending topics in technology and science now is space exploration.

And when we talk about space, we can never miss out the mention of one of the premier centres on space research and management, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Recently, NASA has proposed an excellent Blockchain based air traffic management mechanism.

The system has reportedly been built on the Hyperledger Fabric which the developers believe can be easily deployed and is also more cost effective.

The blockchain to be implemented is set to be a private and secure means of communication with air traffic services. The document states:

“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.”

Hyperledger has been doing extremely well for themselves. They now boast of an impressive clientele including names such as Alibaba Cloud, Citi and Deutsche Telekom.

The implementation of blockchain and cryptography can solve a lot of concerns that have been raised with regard to security and spoofing. For those not familiar with the term, spoofing is the reporting of false aircraft positions. Cryptography can help resolve this problem of ensuring privacy remains intact.

The proposal details the difficulties of such solutions:

“An outstanding issue in most of these PKI [Public Key Infrastructure] schemes is the difficulty of implementing the public key framework in a manner that can be utilized by aircraft in flight.”

The proposal further states that enterprise blockchain solutions could be a practical PKI for aircraft applications. The document states:

“A virtue of theses blockchain schemas is that they enable implementation of a PKI infrastructure in which end users are not required to belong to any single organization, or adhere 6 to any single client/server protocol.”

NASA has previously expressed an intent to work with blockchain, which is why this comes as great news.

Sumedha Bose

Sumedha uses words as her crutch to get by in life. She takes a keen interest in debating, dancing and destroying the patriarchy in her free time. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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