Advanced Television

Thales Alenia leads ESA Quantum sat-project

January 25, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Thales Alenia Space has been awarded the lead contract to develop quantum technology-based satellites and their ground links. The development will mean much-improved cybersecurity benefits.

Thales and its consortium members are looking to build satellites and matching optical ground stations by the end of 2026 to demonstrate the planned long-distance quantum satellite connectivity.

The project is looking to develop new cryptography based on the quantum properties of laser light to keep information ultra-secure.

Other members of the consortium include Airbus Defence & Space, and seven firms and smaller startups including Alpao, Aurea Technology, Bertin Technologies, Miratlas, OGS Technologies, QTlabs and SigmaWorks. Two research labs are also involved: LIP6 at Sorbonne University and the Nice Institute of Physics.

“We are delighted to be working with our partners to develop quantum technologies that will demonstrate the ability to establish operational long-distance satellite quantum communications links and support Europe’s sovereignty in this area,” said Marc-Henri Serre, Thales Alenia Space executive vice president for Telecommunications.

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