Blockstream has announced it has expanded its Bitcoin network data service between space satellites in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as adding support for the Lightning Network. It is reported by CoinDesk.
The Blockstream Satellite service was launched in beta last August. The project is an attempt to use rented space satellites to transmit data on the Bitcoin network to almost anywhere in the world. According to Adam Beck, the CEO of Blockstream, this approach is designed to make Bitcoin more accessible for residents of regions with limited Internet.
There are third-party developers that have taken an interest to build local infrastructure using the satellite service, for example connecting it with mesh networks to make bitcoin more accessible in emerging markets. Lightning adds privacy due to its use of onion routing, and off-chain netting; and lightning better supports micropayments that are lower transaction cost, faster and more scalable. These are advantages for retail and web API use-cases generally, and help make the satellite data API service efficient and connect in with other bitcoin-related infrastructure.
To use the Blockstream Satellite service, a user needs a small satellite dish, a receiver and a computer (even a Raspberry Pi is enough). GNU Radio software toolkit can be used to manage the connection.