PRESS RELEASE — QSpace Technologies LLC, a developer of satellite and atmospheric systems in the field of quantum cryptography, announced the closing of a seed round worth 71.7 million rubles. The investor was Gazprombank, one of the largest commercial investors in quantum technologies in Russia.
The investment will be spent on the first phase of building a small CubeSat with a quantum key distribution system transmitter on board. In the future, researchers plan to launch the small vehicle into space, using the transmitter as a payload. The satellite is scheduled for launch in 2023.
“Any space-related project is very capital-intensive. Attracting a large investor will allow the startup to demonstrate the technology’s performance, while using small satellites of the CubeSat format will do it for the minimum possible money. Such satellites, which have become widespread over the last 10 years, are mainly used as technical demonstrators of systems and equipment capabilities,” said Valentin Tolstykh, head of the QSpace project
Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a key technology in the field of quantum communications, allowing for the highest possible level of information security guaranteed by the laws of physics. QRD is already used in modern telecommunications for confidential data transfer, but today the key transfer is performed via fiber-optic cable, which limits it to a distance of 200 km, taking into account the requirement for the speed of generation. By the end of 2024, QSpace Technologies LLC intends to demonstrate a solution to the limited range problem, using a satellite as a “trusted node”.
QSpace Technologies LLC is a spin-off of the Russian Quantum Center, spun off from quantum cryptography hardware developer QRate in 2021, and a resident of Skolkovo (VEB.RF Group). It is the only company in Russia developing a satellite system based on small spacecrafts.
“The company’s QSpace project is excellent proof that Skolkovo participants are capable of engaging in development in advanced technology areas such as deep tech. Indeed, the technology was previously demonstrated in an experiment conducted in China. Other space powers – the US, the UK, India – have also announced plans to develop quantum key distribution technologies. Here Russia has a chance to remain at the forefront of technological development and demonstrate advanced scientific developments for the world. It is also interesting that the research is funded by Gazprombank, which in the future may be interested in the practical application of secure communications technologies for its operations,” said Ivan Kosenkov Senior Project Manager, Space Technologies, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Cluster, Skolkovo Foundation