Thales Alenia Space and 3IPK chosen by ESA to track Earth observation data

The European Space Agency (ESA) has taken the initiative to merge two promising start-ups, Thales Alenia Space and 3IPK, with the aim of developing a blockchain technology dedicated to ensuring the traceability and integrity of observation data of the Earth in the context of the FutureEO programme. This article will explore the foundations of this innovative technological solution, as well as providing an overview of the activities of the two start-ups involved.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain technology has revolutionized the management of digital information and transactions. A blockchain is made up of a series of blocks that contain encrypted data. Each block contains a set of transactions and a reference ( hash ) to the previous block. One of its fundamental characteristics is decentralization: there is no central authority that oversees the network. Instead, management is entrusted to a global community of participants ( nodes ) distributed throughout the world.

Once information is recorded in a block, editing it is extremely difficult. This is because altering one block would require rewriting all subsequent blocks, obtaining consensus from the majority of nodes in the network. Furthermore, the use of advanced encryption helps ensure maximum security in transactions.

Earth observation

ESA's decision on Earth observation

In the joint press release between Thales Alenia Space and the Slovakian start-up 3IPK , it emerges that both have been chosen by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop an innovative blockchain technology. This technology aims to ensure the traceability and integrity of Earth observation data under the FutureEO programme.

This initiative arises from the growing importance of satellite imagery in shaping and enforcing global environmental policies. It is essential to ensure that images faithfully represent reality. With the emergence of new AI-based deep manipulation techniques ( deep fakes ) that are difficult to detect, ensuring data authenticity becomes crucial.

To address this challenge, the opportunity arose to integrate blockchain technology into the Earth observation data processing chain. Therefore, both 3IPK and Thales Alenia Space will develop a cybersecurity solution designed to ensure the traceability and integrity of EO data through unique digital signatures.

This project will benefit from the complementary expertise of 3IPK, a leading player in the field of blockchain technology, and Thales Alenia Space, a leading partner in international Earth Observation satellite programmes, contributing to 11 of the 12 missions of the Copernicus programme.

The 3IPK start-up

Founded in 2019, 3IPK develops and offers a software solution aimed at ensuring the security of sensitive data within the supply chain, which has been adopted by Thales Alenia Space starting from 2021. This year, 3IPK has obtained access to the Space Founders acceleration program promoted by the French space agency CNES. Furthermore, in June, it also joined Thales Alenia Space's Space Business Catalyst accelerator .

The latter provides technical, commercial, networking and financial support to entrepreneurs and startups, offering them the unique opportunity to establish strategic partnerships with a long-standing player in the space sector. Located at Thales Alenia Space facilities in Toulouse and Turin, this agile facility fosters the development of solutions with the potential to generate innovative and game-changing technologies.

The 3IPK startup specializes in the development of software products based on blockchain technology to ensure the authenticity, integrity and traceability of data. Its primary applications include ensuring the reliability of satellite imagery and promoting transparency in the aerospace supply chain. With offices in both Toulouse, France, and Bratislava, Slovakia, 3IPK is at the forefront of the industry.

Earth observation

The Thales Alenia Space company

Thales Alenia Space offers highly competitive solutions in the fields of Telecommunications, Navigation, Earth Observation, environmental management, Exploration, Science and Orbital Infrastructure. Both the private and public sectors rely on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite systems that can provide global connectivity and location, monitor our planet, optimize the management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space looks at space as a new horizon, an opportunity to improve and support life on Earth in a more responsible and advanced way.

The article Thales Alenia Space and 3IPK chosen by ESA to track Earth observation data was written on: Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .