SpeQtral, a leading provider of satellite quantum communication technology, and Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) to research, develop and demonstrate quantum communications from space to Earth.
Quantum information networks are currently being heavily researched and developed. The industry has seen rapid development of quantum computing and quantum sensing technologies, with the promise of bringing a step change in performance improvements. In order to realise the full potential of such technologies, there will be a need to transfer quantum information across distances of varying ranges. Using satellites to transfer quantum information is actively being pursued as one of the best methods to realise long-distance quantum communications.
As part of this MOU, joint experiments will be carried out, between the SpeQtral-1 quantum satellite – currently being developed – and a state-of-the-art quantum ground receiver currently being developed by Thales Alenia Space. The joint experiments are anticipated to be completed by 2025.
Primed to be one of the first few quantum satellite missions to be launched by a commercial entity, SpeQtral-1 is anticipated to be used to demonstrate the feasibility of long-distance transfer of quantum information, as well as interconnections between various metropolitan quantum networks which are currently being set up.
Thales Alenia Space was established in 2018 and has been executing since then a roadmap towards the mastery of end-to-end quantum communications. This roadmap is fully aligned to SpeQtral’s. Beyond satellites, end-to-end leads Thales Alenia Space to consider ground stations and overall mission segments relying on a strong telecom system integrator expertise, development of optical terminals and the two-decade experience of Thales in quantum communications.
The collaboration, which will likely involve a consortium of other relevant French technology partners as well, provides an excellent platform for both countries to collaborate and conduct joint experiments, leveraging on the respective counterparts’ strong technology heritage. This will enable all parties to innovate at the frontier of quantum information networks.
“This collaboration is an important demonstration of international interoperability of quantum communication assets, a step along the path leading to global quantum information networks,” said Chune Yang Lum, Co-founder and CEO of SpeQtral. “Thales Alenia Space’s optical ground systems promise very high performance and we very much look forward to working with them.”
“We are excited to be working with SpeQtral in these developments towards global quantum information networks,” said Christophe VALORGE, CTO, Thales Alenia Space. “Together with SpeQtral, we have a great opportunity to experiment the quantum communications infrastructure of the future.”
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