Indian Space Research Organization Plans to Launch Quantum-Secure Communications Satellite

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Insider Brief

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to launch its own Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) Satellite.
  • Physical Research Laboratory experts, along with ISRO-Space Applications Centre (SAC) and other institutions, will work over the next two years to enhance quantum communication technologies.
  • The ultimate goal is to include this technology in ISRO satellites, allowing for closed-loop communication with minimal signal attenuation using QKD.
  • Image: ISRO

PRESS RELEASE — The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch its own Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) Satellite, with Ahmedabad prepared to play a key role in the nation’s development of secure and unhackable quantum communication capabilities, according to Communications Today. The statement was made during the opening session of the Physical Research Laboratory’s (PRL) Param Vikram 1000 High-Performance Cluster (HPC) computing facility.

A team of PRL experts, in partnership with ISRO-Space Applications Centre (SAC) and numerous other institutions, will work over the next two years to enhance quantum communication technologies, the website reported. Notably, ISRO-SAC reached a critical milestone in March 2020 when it demonstrated free-space quantum communication across a 300-meter distance. Building on this accomplishment, PRL’s Thaltej campus launched a series of studies to further investigate the potential of this cutting-edge technology.

ISRO Chairman S Somanath emphasized the team’s competence in short-range optical quantum communication, notably in Ahmedabad, where they successfully communicated data over 300 meters, during the ceremony, Communications Today reported. The ultimate goal is to include this technology in ISRO satellites, allowing for closed-loop communication with minimal signal attenuation using QKD. However, additional improvements are required to realize this objective. Somanath underlined ISRO’s commitment to continued technological advancement and incorporation into future satellite launches.

According to Communications Today, QKD is an extremely secure way of communication since it is based on quantum physics principles rather than standard mathematical calculations. QKD is at the heart of quantum communications and cryptography systems, ensuring secure data transport. In QKD, traditional bits representing “0” and “1” are communicated as data over a network as emails, video conversations, or financial transactions.

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Concurrently, the decryption keys are sent as quantum entangled states known as qubits. These binary values are encoded into a polarized photon beam generated by a single photon or light source. Any effort to intercept or eavesdrop on the signal breaks the quantum nature of the encrypted key, alerting the parties involved immediately. Because of this feature, QKD is an extremely secure form of data transport, the website reported.

For more news, information and intelligence on Space, check out Space Impulse.

For more market insights, check out our latest quantum computing news here.

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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