CommStar announces built-in quantum encryption for new satellite links

CommStar earth moon.jpg

A new satellite communications project is to use quantum encryption from the start, to protect customers’ data.

CommStar Space Communications, which plans to launch its first satellite, CommStar-1, before 2023, has teamed with Quantum Xchange to provide quantum-safe encryption across the network.

But the technology will also be usable over fibre, 4G, 5G or copper, said the company, though its focus at the moment is on satellite services.

“We welcome Quantum Xchange as a new service provider in the CommStar ecosystem and our mission is to transform space communications by 2023,” said Fletcher Brumley, CEO of CommStar Space Communications.

CommStar will be unusual in that it will operate between the Earth and the Moon, and it is seen as likely to play a vital role in Nasa’s mission to land astronauts on the Moon’s surface for the first time since the 1970s.

CommStar has identified Lumen, Orange and Equinix as its partners in providing services.

Brumley said: “With the launch of our hybrid data relay satellite, CommStar-1, and through our work with leading service providers like Quantum Xchange, we can offer customers a highly secure, always-on communications network from and between cislunar, the Moon and Earth.”

He is the son of Bob Brumley, head of Laser Light, another advanced communications project, planning to use a combination of satellites and fibre.  

“This next-generation space communications network requires equally powerful and innovative next-generation security technologies,” said the younger Brumley.

Quantum Xchange’s Phio Trusted Xchange (Phio TX) will use an extra layer of encryption, said the company. It “is a simple architecture overlay that leverages an out-of-band symmetric key delivery technology to supplement native encryption with an additional key-encrypting-key (KEK) transmitted independent of the data path and through a quantum-protected tunnel.”

CommStar said the “converged global infrastructure and comprehensive services offerings of its service partners will enable the origination, storage, and delivery of space data for use by commercial, civil science, and government entities over an ultra-secure, quantum-protected network”.