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Author Topic: Lets put bitcoin in space. A mining satellite for $8000  (Read 4881 times)
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February 12, 2013, 09:17:22 AM
 #1

This started as a joke, but when researching it a bit further, it actually seems like it could be doable.

Lets put a bitcoin  satellite in to space!

Somewhere out of reach of governments, where solar energy is abundant and cooling may not be a problem (not actually sure about the latter lol).

Of course, the idea is not for this to be a profitable mining enterprise, it would be first and foremost a fantastic publicity stunt. Unaffordable? not so sure, have a look here:
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/cheap-space-satellites/story?id=17165740

$8,000 and that includes putting it in orbit. I suspect we might get that sort of money on kickstarter, particularly with a few corporate sponsors, like say BFL. Wouldnt they love to have one of their asics orbiting earth? Imagine the press this could generate!

There are some caveats, but none too serious I think. current asics wouldnt be radiation hardened. They will get destroyed by cosmic radiation if not properly shielded (and possibly even if shielded). So it may not last 10 years, it might even break a lot faster than that, but thats ok I think. If it lasts only a few months, its mission accomplished as far as Im concerned. edit: apparently for the above price, you get so low orbit it will only last a few weeks anyway. Oh well..

It would have to connect to the internet. I have no idea how to do that in practice. We would need only a tiny bit of bandwidth, but you do need a permanent uplink. anyone have a clue how to do that and what it would cost?

Then there is the building of satellite itself. Probably not something we should do in our backyard shed, but the above price seems to include the cost of building one. A bitcoin mining satellite with a few low clocked asics is probably about as simple as it gets, assuming you dont want to generate 1000s of watts.

Thoughts?

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February 12, 2013, 10:37:52 AM
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A satellite is not out of reach of government since they already have assets in space that could blow them out of the sky if they choose to.

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February 12, 2013, 11:20:09 AM
 #3

It is doable, I agree, but for not for $8,000, more like $500,000.

Unless...

As a first step, look-up Elon Musk, then get him on board to donate (invest into) some 50kg payload space on one of his rockets. That will sort the issue with the $500,000

Second step, pack one large cooler box with (1) 1 x BLF single, (2) 1 x Iridium communicator module running port of cgminer, (3) 150 x AHR32113 cells, (4) 16 x PV cells, laminated into a folded array (use old umbrella mechanism to unfold  Smiley , (5) 1 x quad solar tracker to correct for minute deviation of position, estimated life +/- 5 years, but one may get lucky, (6) 1 x omnidirectional Iridium antenna.

Third and last step, put the cooler box into even larger cooler box (to protect from micro-meteorites and high-velocity space-dust), wrap everything with number of layers of aluminium sheet (to protect from radiation).

Don't forget to  install the Iridium antenna outside, otherwise one will struggle to communicate with the contraption.

Should work.

If Elon Musk feels you, or if you can raise BTC2,000 (at the current rate), it is.



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February 12, 2013, 11:29:49 AM
 #4

Somewhere out of reach of governments, where solar energy is abundant and cooling may not be a problem (not actually sure about the latter lol).
Cooling is a *massive* problem in space. The two most effective ways of getting rid of heat, convection and conduction, are essentially impossible in space.

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February 12, 2013, 12:30:00 PM
 #5

Cooling used to be a problem, back in the 60's and 70's. But then someone (I've personally met, BTW) invented the 3-axis stabilised bus and mounted a black body radiator on the opposite to the sun side. Problem solved.

So, if one takes one of the Avalon modules aluminium radiators (ask nicely, admit that they design is sufficient), chemically blackens it (increase surface), and then mounts it on the opposite to the sun side of the cooler-box contraption, it should work.

But still, the more difficult thing to do is to convince Elon Muck to donate +/- 50kg payload space...
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February 12, 2013, 06:22:28 PM
 #6

Ahem. We could put it on one of these: http://www.nanosatisfi.com/

Wouldn't get much computing power - but a nanosat is the best way to go.

FYI, I'm a bit of a space geek - let me know if you're actually serious about this and I can get some costings Smiley

R
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February 12, 2013, 06:31:47 PM
 #7

Ahem. We could put it on one of these: http://www.nanosatisfi.com/

Wouldn't get much computing power - but a nanosat is the best way to go.

FYI, I'm a bit of a space geek - let me know if you're actually serious about this and I can get some costings Smiley

R

Would be useful to get some estimates, like what sort of power we could generate up there, if an unfolding solar array is at all realistic (price wise),  costs for launching for various orbits and sat sizes etc. Just ball park figures would be great.

Not that I think I will be promoting this as an actual project, better to have someone who knows at least something about space. If the shoe fits...
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February 12, 2013, 06:49:17 PM
 #8

Cooling used to be a problem, back in the 60's and 70's. But then someone (I've personally met, BTW) invented the 3-axis stabilised bus and mounted a black body radiator on the opposite to the sun side. Problem solved.

So, if one takes one of the Avalon modules aluminium radiators (ask nicely, admit that they design is sufficient), chemically blackens it (increase surface), and then mounts it on the opposite to the sun side of the cooler-box contraption, it should work.

But still, the more difficult thing to do is to convince Elon Muck to donate +/- 50kg payload space...
Even with an emissivity of 1, do you know how hot that Avalon heatsink would have to get to dissipate 150W radiatively?
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February 12, 2013, 07:00:06 PM
 #9

We can make a pool of investors for this.

We solo mine in space and give the mined blocks for auction. The mined blocks goes to the address with the highest bid at the moment.

Like the gemofbitcoin without the fee, and when someone offers more money than you, you simply get your BTCs back,no more, no less.



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February 12, 2013, 09:12:59 PM
 #10

Cooling used to be a problem, back in the 60's and 70's. But then someone (I've personally met, BTW) invented the 3-axis stabilised bus and mounted a black body radiator on the opposite to the sun side. Problem solved.

So, if one takes one of the Avalon modules aluminium radiators (ask nicely, admit that they design is sufficient), chemically blackens it (increase surface), and then mounts it on the opposite to the sun side of the cooler-box contraption, it should work.

But still, the more difficult thing to do is to convince Elon Muck to donate +/- 50kg payload space...
Even with an emissivity of 1, do you know how hot that Avalon heatsink would have to get to dissipate 150W radiatively?

Stock Avalon radiator will perform quite poorly, although it's shiny and looks cool and high-tech in silver. It must be anodised (or processed otherwise) to increase it's surface area at least 30-40-maybe-even-50 fold. Then it would need to dissipate only +/- 70W (my estimate).

Yea, I think it should work - but can you imagine the delta-T on that config? BFL, have you tested the lowest temperature of your ASICs, can they perform reliably at 20K?

BTW, in my previous life I've sent couple of my design and manufacture modules in space, and for my surprise they've worked for over 10 years without overheating. Admittedly, that was over 25 years ago, and technology progressed since that time...

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February 12, 2013, 09:20:45 PM
 #11

Who needs cooling when we have ARMS that produce no heat. (They really do produce a little heat but the coolness of space should dissipate it quicker than it can heat, infact you might have problems of freezing with arms (can't say for sure thought) I think the real issue is solving all types of radiation that happens out in space mostly electromagnetic radiation sounds like the biggest issue really
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February 12, 2013, 09:21:39 PM
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Gopher, you must enjoy your work. I'm envious.

My anger against what is wrong in the Bitcoin community is productive:
Bitcointa.lk - Replace "Bitcointalk.org" with "Bitcointa.lk" in this url to see how this page looks like on a proper forum (Announcement Thread)
Hashfast.org - Wiki for screwed customers
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February 12, 2013, 09:22:55 PM
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Gopher, you must enjoy your work. I'm envious.

I've used to, now I am retired, and I enjoy that even more :-)
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February 12, 2013, 09:29:11 PM
 #14

This started as a joke, but when researching it a bit further, it actually seems like it could be doable.

Lets put a bitcoin  satellite in to space!

Somewhere out of reach of governments, where solar energy is abundant and cooling may not be a problem (not actually sure about the latter lol).

Of course, the idea is not for this to be a profitable mining enterprise, it would be first and foremost a fantastic publicity stunt. Unaffordable? not so sure, have a look here:
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/cheap-space-satellites/story?id=17165740

$8,000 and that includes putting it in orbit. I suspect we might get that sort of money on kickstarter, particularly with a few corporate sponsors, like say BFL. Wouldnt they love to have one of their asics orbiting earth? Imagine the press this could generate!

There are some caveats, but none too serious I think. current asics wouldnt be radiation hardened. They will get destroyed by cosmic radiation if not properly shielded (and possibly even if shielded). So it may not last 10 years, it might even break a lot faster than that, but thats ok I think. If it lasts only a few months, its mission accomplished as far as Im concerned. edit: apparently for the above price, you get so low orbit it will only last a few weeks anyway. Oh well..

It would have to connect to the internet. I have no idea how to do that in practice. We would need only a tiny bit of bandwidth, but you do need a permanent uplink. anyone have a clue how to do that and what it would cost?

Then there is the building of satellite itself. Probably not something we should do in our backyard shed, but the above price seems to include the cost of building one. A bitcoin mining satellite with a few low clocked asics is probably about as simple as it gets, assuming you dont want to generate 1000s of watts.

Thoughts?



I suggested this idea about 2 years ago. A GPS-like network that repeats the entire chain ad infinium. Problem is, it is very hard to get the license for the downlink frequencies we'd be interested in, and it would cost in excess of a quarter of a million USD per launch.

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February 12, 2013, 09:29:38 PM
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When the subject of buying BTC with Paypal comes up, I often remember this: 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein
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February 12, 2013, 09:32:05 PM
 #16

Msp430 with ferroelectric RAM, an array of it. That radiation resistat, but needs to be cooled under 430C.
Ofc, wont do much MHs, but it can hash, I offer the code if it is needed.

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February 12, 2013, 09:43:38 PM
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Who needs cooling when we have ARMS that produce no heat. (They really do produce a little heat but the coolness of space should dissipate it quicker than it can heat, infact you might have problems of freezing with arms (can't say for sure thought) I think the real issue is solving all types of radiation that happens out in space mostly electromagnetic radiation sounds like the biggest issue really

ARM would be silly. Anything on the performance level of a raspberry pi or smartphone still has a TDP of ~2 watt. As I recall, a single avalon or asicminer chip has about the same thermal dissipation. The difference is the ARM will not find a block in 100 years, with the avalon asic there is at least a chance it will find one before it burns up in the atmosphere.

Question: how do these pico satellites orient themselves? Do they have tiny engines ?

as for communicating with it, there is already a project underway to achieve this:

Quote
In the open-source spirit of Hackerspace, Mr Bauer and some friends came up with the idea of a distributed network of low-cost ground stations that can be bought or built by individuals.

Used together in a global network, these stations would be able to pinpoint satellites at any given time, while also making it easier and more reliable for fast-moving satellites to send data back to earth.

"It's kind of a reverse GPS," Mr Bauer said.

"GPS uses satellites to calculate where we are, and this tells us where the satellites are. We would use GPS co-ordinates but also improve on them by using fixed sites in precisely-known locations."

Mr Bauer said the team would have three prototype ground stations in place in the first half of 2012, and hoped to give away some working models at the next Chaos Communication Congress in a year's time.

They would also sell the devices on a non-profit basis.

"We're aiming for 100 euros (£84) per ground station

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16367042
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February 12, 2013, 09:46:40 PM
 #18

Cooling used to be a problem, back in the 60's and 70's. But then someone (I've personally met, BTW) invented the 3-axis stabilised bus and mounted a black body radiator on the opposite to the sun side. Problem solved.

So, if one takes one of the Avalon modules aluminium radiators (ask nicely, admit that they design is sufficient), chemically blackens it (increase surface), and then mounts it on the opposite to the sun side of the cooler-box contraption, it should work.

But still, the more difficult thing to do is to convince Elon Muck to donate +/- 50kg payload space...
Even with an emissivity of 1, do you know how hot that Avalon heatsink would have to get to dissipate 150W radiatively?

Stock Avalon radiator will perform quite poorly, although it's shiny and looks cool and high-tech in silver. It must be anodised (or processed otherwise) to increase it's surface area at least 30-40-maybe-even-50 fold. Then it would need to dissipate only +/- 70W (my estimate).

Yea, I think it should work - but can you imagine the delta-T on that config? BFL, have you tested the lowest temperature of your ASICs, can they perform reliably at 20K?

BTW, in my previous life I've sent couple of my design and manufacture modules in space, and for my surprise they've worked for over 10 years without overheating. Admittedly, that was over 25 years ago, and technology progressed since that time...

No offense, but that makes no sense to me. Regardless of what you do to the heatsink the power draw of the chips isn't going to be significantly reduced unless you undervolt them and downclock them. They might run a little less power at cooler temperatures, but temperature will almost certainly be higher than it would be on Earth. For reference, the heatsink looks very similar to a 1ft length of this profile.
http://www.aavid.com/products/extrusion-heatsinks/76620
The 12" would have a total surface area of 406 square inches, or 0.262m^2. However it would be a horribly inefficient design as a spacecraft radiator because the majority of the surface area is perpendicular to other parts of the heatsink. Even if you chemically treated it to increase the surface area it won't overcome the fact that the geometry of that heatsink is terrible and most of the heat that is radiated would just be reabsorbed elsewhere in the heatsink. The effective surface area would be much lower.
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February 12, 2013, 10:05:33 PM
 #19

Anything you put in space need to be cooled.
There is no air flow in vacuum, so the only way to cool stuff is by radiation emission. Also, inside the satellite, I assume there is less or no convection since there is no gravitation, so hot air will stick near hot elements, so, unless you design some sort of internal cooling, you will easy experience points with temperature high over 100C. Also, when anything is exposed to Sun, in space, it will heat pretty fast (200 -300C I think, near Earth).

25Khs at 5W Litecoin USB dongle (FPGA), 45kHs overclocked
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February 12, 2013, 11:27:42 PM
 #20

First things first ...

how big will the solar array be?

Need to put some kind of stake in the ground to get started ... can always move it later.

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