SES and TESAT develop payload for quantum cryptography LEO satellite

SES and TESAT develop payload for quantum cryptography LEO satellite

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EAGLE-1 consortium lead SES has a new partner, TESAT, which will develop and integrate the Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) payload for the EAGLE-1 satellite.

This partnership will usher in the next milestone in building Europe’s first quantum secure LEO Satellite System EAGLE-1.

“EAGLE-1 is a project that will benefit the whole of Europe and being able to work with the leading technology players in the market to co-develop it and together shape this innovative secure technology is a privilege to SES,” said Ruy Pinto, chief technology officer at SES.

“The addition of the secure optical links and the actual QKD module brings us closer to implementation, testing and further scaling the technology, that can ultimately serve millions of users. This elevates secure communications to an entirely new level, supporting development of reliable pan-European quantum communications infrastructures.”

Supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission, EAGLE-1 is a quantum key system integrating both space and ground segments that will deliver secure transmission of encryption keys across geographically diverse areas and connect EU’s national quantum communications infrastructures to create fully sovereign networks.

“We are delighted to be selected as payload prime by SES and looking forward to bring our expertise in integrating secure technologies, and a track record of almost 80,000 executed optical satellite links for the benefit of this highly-important and timely European project,” said Thomas Reinartz, CEO of TESAT.

“The EAGLE-1 system allows for achieving synergies together with leading industry partners, SMEs and institutes, reducing time to service and to market for the quantum secure technologies and its future key users, such as governments and institutions, or banking sector. Together with our partners, we are looking forward to strengthen European collaboration at all levels, including SMEs and institutions and contributing to European sovereignty in space.”

For its part, TESAT will manufacture the QKD payload comprised of the Scalable Optical Terminal SCOT80 to create a secure optical link from space to ground, as well as the QKD module of the satellite.

This technology integrated into the EAGLE-1 system’s payload will include built-in redundancy and is specifically designed to be associated with the satellite communications and data transmission for such areas as government, telco operators, cloud providers and banking, to add guaranteed security of the cryptographic applications.

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