NASA to Bring Blockchain Technology for Air Traffic Management

According to a paper published on the 7th of January ’19 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] is looking forward to adopt distributed ledger technology [DLT] or what we call more often the blockchain technology. The document says that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has firmly decided that the U.S. aviation branch should start making use of the ADS-B by the year 2020, as this system is an effective alternative to the RADAR system which is currently used, is cost effective and provides extremely improved situational awareness in local as well as international air spaces.

However, despite the several benefits which are provided the ADS-B, Ronald Reisman, an Aero Computer Engineer at the Flight Trajectory Dynamics and Controls Branch at NASA, has said that the system has quite many significant vulnerabilities which include denial of service [DoS], susceptibility to spoofing and other attacks. Ronald Reisman explained, “While there have been many proposals aimed at making the ADS-B system more secure, stakeholders in the industry, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), are yet to approve any particular plan to fix the serious issue.”

Ronald Reisman has introduced a permissioned framework which is based on the blockchain technology and is focused on “enabling aircraft privacy and anonymity while fostering secure and efficient for communication with Air Traffic Services and other authorized parties.” Aviation Blockchain Infrastructure [ABI], is the system which is equipped with the Linux Hyperledger Fabric and smart contracts. Aviation Blockchain Infrastructure [ABI] is also powered by a state channel which provides users absolute control over their data which can be shared publicly or privately among authorized entities. Reisman said, “Channels are used for conducting confidential transactions. For instance, sensitive details such as altitude, latitude, longitude and others, may be kept secure through a private channel, while the public aspects of the flight may be published on a channel open to all approved users.”

 It is not yet sure that NASA will be bringing in the blockchain technology of Reisman into their ADS-B system but it is important to note that the aeronautics firm has displayed a liberal stance towards the blockchain technology in recent times. In January last year, NASA had awarded the Assistant Professor of University of Akron, Jin Wei Kocsis, $333,000 USD to develop a AI equipped and blockchain system which will provide the satellites a safe travel into the deeper space and make independent and accurate decisions in real time.

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