NASA Considers Hyperledger Blockchain for Air Traffic Management


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, now eyes blockchain for air traffic management. Ronald J. Reisman, an aero-computer engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center has suggested that use of blockchain to solve issues of privacy and the prevention of spoofing, denial of service, and other attacks.

Reisman states in a paper that the new system Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) will be implemented in 2020. However, the ADS-B does not provide for the protection of flight plans and positions and other state data. Reisman asserts that blockchain can aid via an engineering prototype built using a permissioned blockchain.

The use of an open source permissioned blockchain framework to enable aircraft privacy and anonymity while providing a secure and efficient method for communication with Air Traffic Services, Operations Support, or other authorized entities.

The proposed framework will use “certificate authority, smart contract support, and higher-bandwidth communication channels” to ensure private communication between aircraft and authorized participants. The post further details how the prototype could be “economically and rapidly deployed” at scale. Reisman proposed prototype uses Hyperledger Fabric,  a blockchain he says has been developed away from fintech and designed for enterprise use.

Why Hyperledger Fabric

The paper elaborated that Reisman considered other chains as well. However, according to him, the other chains lacked  cohesion and flexibility due to the platforms design limitations:

Ethereum claims a >80% market share, followed by other platforms, including (in order of market share popularity): Waves, Bitcoin Fork, Stratis, Graphene, Hyperledger, Ethereum Classic, Maidsafe, Litecoin Fork, NEO, and Rootstock.

Reisman further states:

Proposes to leverage an industrial-strength open-source enterprise-blockchain framework called Hyperledger Fabric to demonstrate potential solutions to vexing technical issues that threaten the adoption of ADS-B by Military, Corporate, and other aircraft operators who do not want their operations and movements discernable by the general public.

He agrees that his approach “is not perfected”, it is “based on available technology.” A sentiment echoed by many, implying that wider use of blockchain globally is not very far.

Is Cryptocurrency just a FAD

Virtual assets have its fair share of enthusiasts and naysayers, backing and pulling it down respectively. Many non-believers including Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller called bitcoin a fad in October 2017, when the token first reached its record high of nearly $ 6,000.

Martin Walker of the Center for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa) also carries a similar sentiment. So does the CEO of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, though his wordings were a bit different as he called bitcoin “a fraud.”

“The Bitcoin is just a fad”

— Liddle’ LeGate ?? (@williamlegate) February 10, 2018