ESA Inks Contract for Augmented QKD Mission Codenamed: ROKS
CRAFT PROSPECT will lead a Consortium to Explore CubeSat Augmented Quantum Key Distribution Services
Cybersecurity services delivered by a QKD enabled CubeSat will provide new opportunities for next generation cybersecurity technology deployed in space.
GLASGOW, Scotland – PrZen — Craft Prospect Ltd. has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to explore space-based quantum key distribution services. This work will provide critical inputs to a planned future mission codenamed ROKS for launch in 2022.
The consortium partners Craft Prospect Ltd., a leading space service and technology business, with the cybersecurity expertise and established market awareness of Barrier Networks Ltd. Together, the consortium will develop plans for a commercial service offering scalable space-based cybersecurity services underpinned by quantum key technologies. With the threat to security posed by quantum computers, these quantum key based services will form part of a future ‘cybersecurity toolbox’ protecting everyday transactions of data from internet banking, mobile communications, and medical records, from cyberattack.
The work to be undertaken with ESA will look at the growing demand for global and scalable solutions to maintain cybersecure systems, engaging with potential customers along the value chain to understand use cases that can be deployed within current and future network infrastructure.
Steve Greenland, Managing Director of Craft Prospect said: “Given its global reach, space can play a critical role in the delivery of new cybersecurity solutions. The use of small satellites for demonstrating and deploying quantum technologies and services balances these cost-effective platforms with a scalable and responsive capability to fill gaps in our timing and communications networks.”
More widely, Craft Prospect Ltd has engaged Qureca Ltd to support its quantum technology program and engagement with end users. The Qureca Ltd team will support the evaluation of quantum technology impacts and opportunities in the space sector, including public webinars and workshops.
Craft Prospect Ltd. secures an ESA Space Solutions feasibility study to assess a tailored key management service, delivered by a Quantum Key Distribution enabled CubeSat. Currently working on engagement with end users, it will ensure that the market is ready and secured for any future potential cyber threat.
With the ever-increasing move to digital technology across all elements of society, the security of an individual’s data, both in communication and at rest, is becoming more and more of a challenge. The progress of quantum computing and the threat it poses to current Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology is very real and is of enormous concern to banks, government organisations and healthcare providers.
Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is an emerging field within cyber security which can serve to supplement increased assured demand or as a replacement for existing PKI. QKD is a method of distributing and sharing keys necessary for cryptographic protocols responsible for securing data. To ensure private communication, QKD relies upon what was once seen as a problem of quantum systems; if you observe or disturb them in any way, you break the quantum characteristics – meaning that if an attacker were to try intercept the key generation, they will introduce errors and reveal themselves before any data is encoded or communicated.
Due to the losses experienced in optical fibres in ground based QKD networks and line of sight limitations, space represents an excellent, global, and highly scalable mechanism for the distribution of secure keys.
Craft Prospect Ltd (CPL) has developed an upstream concept for an Augmented QKD (AQKD) service that has gained impressive traction within the QKD security community. A first mission known as ROKS to demonstrate these capabilities is planned in 2022. This will provide a proof of concept and the first implementation of Augmented QKD based services.
We are developing the technology of the future, delivering capabilities for securing highly sensitive information and data exchanges via satellite-based quantum cryptography, to make your business more secure now.
Craft Prospect is a growing Glasgow-based space engineering practice founded in 2017. With a headcount of 15 the experienced team of space engineers and architects are developing technology and services to support space-based QKD delivery, based on UK quantum technology heritage. Our first mission Responsive Operations for Key Services is an in-orbit service demonstration mission part-funded by the UK Space Agency through the Satellite Applications Catapult and set for launch in 2022. Craft Prospect brings its experience of modular quantum technology development for space, onboard AI systems for effective service delivery, and small satellite engineering architecture and experience.
About Barrier Networks
Established in 2006, Barrier Networks mission is to help customers build cyber resilience and develop strategies that ensure their defence against emerging cyber-attacks. With a mature portfolio of solutions and skills, Barrier is committed to working with innovative technologies and solutions that provide security assurance to key organisations and bodies across the globe.
About QURECA Ltd. (Quantum Resources & Careers)
In 2019, the Royal Society described QURECA Ltd as the company that “fills the gaps in the existing quantum community, creating a society ready for quantum through a common language.”
QURECA offers professional services, business development, and the first online platform for training and recruitment.
The founder, Dr. Araceli Venegas-Gomez, was named the “quantum ambassador”, after winning the Optical Society Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting fellowship in 2019, and an executive fellowship at the University of Bristol Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre in 2020.
About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. ESA Space Solutions aims at reaching commercial exploitation of space assets, data and capabilities addressing incubation, proving technical feasibility and business development. This includes the development of operational services for a wide range of users through the combination of different systems, and support in creating viable companies as well as to existing companies.
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