Canada, Satellites, and Quantum Key Distribution
Meet The Scrappy Space Startup Taking Quantum Security Into Space
+ There are a bunch of differences between the older Micius approach to QKD and that which QEYSSat is taking. For a start, QEYSSat is aiming to be less than 20% the size of the Micius satellite and will leverage commercial technology. Hence the involvement of Loft Orbital. Does size matter? You betcha. Reductions in size of that scale should lead to significant savings in both cost and time as far as the next generation of test projects is concerned. Size and mass will also be key if you’ll forgive the pun, as any QKD implementation at scale will demand a large satellite constellation.
What do you get when you combine space, lasers, photons, the laws of physics, a Fortune 100 company, the Canadian Space Agency and a scrappy space startup? The answer, it is hoped, will be a revolution in encrypted communications. Or, at least, the start of one: a mission to test quantum security in space. Why might you want to do that? Let me explain, with the help of a scrappy space startup and a seriously clued-up quantum security boffin.
+ Ultimately, if all goes according to plan, QEYSSat could have broad-reaching impacts as it should prove the capability to deliver QKD over much longer distances than the current ground to ground tests have managed to date. “This mission will demonstrate game-changing technology with far-reaching implications for how information will be shared and distributed in the future,” says Loft Orbital CEO, Pierre-Damien Vaujour, “we are honored and thrilled to be supporting it.”
+ And what of Loft Orbital, which seems to think that this new QKD technology should be available to the private sector, and adopted at scale, in the 2030s? Dr. Carney doesn’t have a problem with that as a date for adoption, given that Loft Orbital is demonstrating how microsats are getting ever easier to launch.
+ “Adopted at scale,” he says, “this is I think the kicker. There seem to be a lot of variables in the mix that don’t have easy engineering solutions. Unless you are launching a satellite per region and getting decent coverage with superb bandwidth to mitigate issues such as cloud cover, it’s hard to see how the cost viability is maintained.”
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