Space-based quantum secure technologies

Published on
January 24, 2024

Quantum secure communications has the potential to one day underpin the world’s digital communications. To be able to deliver quantum secured communication between continents, researchers need to be develop transfer encryption (quantum) keys between ground stations and satellites, and between satellites.

However, quantum keys cannot be transmitted through undersea cables over long distances as photons are lost and crucially cannot pass through the optical amplifiers used in underwater cables. The only way to create global QKD-secured communications will be with satellites.

Although there is some photon loss in the atmosphere, this number is low enough that quantum light signals could still be sent between satellites and ground stations to provide key distribution at useful rates. As the technology advances, the space sector will become the providers of launch and management for satellites that will become an integral part of the world’s future communications infrastructure.



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