Digital Storage In Space Rises Above The Cloud

Author

Tom Coughlin

October 17, 2016

Data transmission through the conventional Internet always carries a header that gives information on how the information was sent. Header information is an important element in the Internet to move data from switched node to switched node on the web. This information can also help those who have bad intentions to make intelligent guesses on which traffic has potentially useful information and which do not. What if there was a way to avoid this switched traffic and this header information in data transmission?

This year a start up named Cloud Constellation released its plans to build an array of equatorial low earth orbiting data center satellites that would provide a space-based infrastructure for cloud service providers to serve corporate and government clients. This SpaceBelt Information Ultra-Highway would provide a private network with communications directly to and from the satellite network without any communication over the Internet via tight beam radio and hence no public headers.

The actual communication can cover almost all the earth using radio beams bounced off high orbit geosynchronous communication satellites. Communication between the array of satellites is via laser beam communication allowing replication and transmission of data between different earth locations. Customers would have medium sized satellite dishes for communication with the satellites. The company says that latencies will be lower than those through conventional Internet transmission.

The digital storage in these orbiting data centers will be solid-state drives and the internal temperature inside the satellites will be kept at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The budget to build the initial phase of this satellite network is estimated at $400 M, much less than the cost of building an equivalent terrestrial global data center network with an equivalent level of security. Data is encrypted on the way to the satellite chain, inside the satellite storage and when the data is transmitted back to earth. This should provide secure storage and transport of mission-critical and sensitive data without interruption or exposure to any surreptitious elements or unintended jusisdictions.

SpaceBelt is said to protect critical and sensitive data for a diverse range of potential clients, including:
• Medical and pharmaceutical – Formulas and research data, patient privacy
and image archiving
• Universities and archives – Libraries, Social Security data and research
• Transportation and utilities – Air traffic control data and SCADA networks
• Energy and government – Exploration data, aerial drones and embassies
• Media – Video clouds, bypassing congested/delayed and expensive
networks
• Banking and insurance – Global operations, jurisdictional risks and
regulatory compliance

Cloud Constellation said that it planned to have the first phase of its space-based network operational in 2018 or 2019. Competing contractors bidding for the first phase of the SpaceBelt network include many of the world’s leading aerospace companies. The company filed a patent on its Space Based Electronic Storage and Transfer Network System with WIPO PCT (WO 2016/126888 A1) in August 2016. Soon many companies and organizations will have an option to store their data securely in outer space.

 

This article was written by Tom Coughlin from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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