But don’t delay: By this evening, everything — from the 10-foot-tall vacuum chamber in the first-floor machine shop, to the dozens of laptops and chairs spread out in the second-floor workspace, to the satellite dish on top of the office building in Redmond — will have gone electronically to the highest bidders.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A year after taking over the assets of a Redmond, Wash.-based asteroid mining company known as Planetary Resources, ConsenSys Space has unveiled its first project: an app-based system that makes use of amateur observers and Ethereum blockchain technology to keep track of satellites.
The open-source TruSat app was released tonight in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress here in Washington, and is aimed at addressing what’s expected to be a satellite traffic jam in low Earth orbit.
TruSat is an initiative led by ConsenSys Space in partnership with the Secure World Foundation, the Society of Women in Space Exploration and Moriba Jah, a space scientist and aerospace engineer at the University of Texas at Austin.
It’s aimed at analyzing the naked-eye satellite observations that are made by volunteers and submitted via the app, to come up with more accurate information about the orbits of thousands of satellites. Blockchain technology, which is best known as a software-based foundation for cryptocurrencies, would be used in this case to provide transparency about the source of orbital data.
Singapore-based SpaceChain has been ramping up its activity over the past year, highlighted by the launch of two nanosatellite-based blockchain nodes into orbit aboard Chinese Long March rockets in February and October of 2018.
After months of financial uncertainty, the Planetary Resources asteroid-mining venture says its assets have been purchased by the Brooklyn-based ConsenSys blockchain venture.
In a news release, Planetary Resources said its CEO and president, Chris Lewicki, and general counsel Brian Israel have joined ConsenSys in connection with the acquisition. ConsenSys will operate its space initiatives out of Planetary Resources’ former facility in Redmond, Wash.
Further details about the transaction are confidential, Planetary Resources spokeswoman Stacey Tearne told GeekWire in an email.
ConsenSys is a production studio that creates enterprises in a wide range of business areas based on the Ethereum platform for cryptocurrency and other blockchain applications. It has spawned 50 ventures, or “spokes,” including an online poker site, a legal services site and a “transmedia universe integrated with blockchain technology” called Cellarius.
The company’s founder is Joe Lubin, who co-founded Ethereum. Today, Lubin paid tribute to Planetary Resources for its “world-class talent, its record of innovation, and for inspiring people across our planet in support of its bold vision for the future.”