This is part of the Blockstream Satellite Kit setup guide.
Blockstream maintains a customized version of Bitcoin Core that is capable of receiving and decoding the data that is sent over satellite, in addition to everything a normal Bitcoin Core node does.
The custom node software is currently based on Bitcoin Core v0.19. You will need to type some things into a terminal to install and launch the application. To enter a command, copy and paste each line as shown below, pressing enter at the end of each line.
Note: If you already have Bitcoin Core installed—such as via apt-get or dnf—then our custom version will overwrite it. Don't worry, all of your blockchain and wallet data will be safe.
Install the Blockstream Satellite Bitcoin node Software
Open the Terminal on your Linux computer (Ctrl-Alt-T).
Install the custom Bitcoin node software.
blocksat-cli deps install --btc
Note: If you have the official Bitcoin Core already installed on your computer, the installation will fail. To resolve this, you can either remove Bitcoin Core and attempt the installation again, or manually install the custom node software to an alternative directory location (advanced users only).
Generate a configuration file so that your node can receive the Bitcoin data received from the satellite.
Note: By default, this command will generate a bitcoin.conf file in the default directory (
~/.bitcoin/). You can specify an alternative directory with
blocksat-cli btc -d datadir
Start your Blockstream Satellite Bitcoin node.
Tip: You can start your Blockstream Satellite Bitcoin node with its internet connection disabled, ensuring that all blockchain data is received from the satellite link only. To do this, start your node with the line
bitcoind -connect=0. Alternatively, you can add the line
connect=0to your bitcoin.conf file to ensure that your node always starts with the internet disabled.
Check Your Node's Activity
As long as your antenna is aligned, and the antenna, receiver, and computer are all connected properly, your new Blockstream Satellite node should now start downloading the blockchain from space! Nice work, you can sit back and watch the blocks flow in!
Tip: If you’re downloading the blockchain from scratch, it may take a while (okay...up to a few weeks) to complete a full node sync through the satellite network. To speed up this process, you can complete the initial sync via the internet or obtain a copy of the blockchain from another source.
Observe your node's logs in the default data directory
~/.bitcoin/debug.log. For example, if using the Basic Kit, you will see logs such as the ones below, which indicate the bit rate of the traffic received from the satellite.
2020-07-02T18:15:33Z UDP multicast group 0: Average bit rate 0.09 Mbit/sec (blocksat-tbs-lowspeed)
2020-07-02T18:15:37Z UDP multicast group 1: Average bit rate 1.54 Mbit/sec (blocksat-tbs-highspeed)
You can also check the number of blocks being received concurrently over satellite with the following command.
Once the node is fully synced, you can connect Bitcoin applications and services to the node as you would with the standard version of Bitcoin Core.
Tip: If you prefer to verify the blockchain on the official version of Bitcoin Core, you can connect Bitcoin Core client to the Blockstream Satellite client. To do this, you'll need to open network connections on the Blockstream Satellite client. We'll have a full guide available soon!