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SMi SmallSatellites 2020  Satellite Communications Technology

Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) hands over satellite operations of SpooQy-1 CubeSat to SpeQtral

(13 December 2019 - SpeQtral) SpeQtral announced today that it has taken over operations of the SpooQy-1 nanosatellite on behalf of the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore.

SpooQy-1 is a shoebox-sized, 3U CubeSat hosting a quantum payload developed at CQT. It was launched April 2019 and subsequently deployed from the International Space Station on 17 June 2019. The quantum payload is the world’s first entangled photon source compact enough to fit on a CubeSat and qualified for the harsh space environment.

The primary objective of the SpooQy-1 mission is to produce and characterize entangled photon pairs in space such that they violate the CHSH (Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt) Bell’s inequality. This is a core capability for future quantum communication networks. The CQT team is analysing scientific data from the mission and expects to publish results on the source’s performance in 2020.

In the meantime, CQT and SpeQtral have signed an agreement allowing SpeQtral to manage ongoing operations. Formed as a spin-out company to commercialize quantum communications technologies developed at CQT, SpeQtral will monitor the long-term performance of the quantum payload for radiation damage and other degradation effects in the space environment. This information will help guide the development of long-lived quantum systems in space, necessary for the commercial deployment of space-based QKD systems.

“Establishing a partnership for the SpooQy mission plays to all our strengths: at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, we will concentrate on scientific objectives, while SpeQtral focuses on commercial applications,” says Artur Ekert, Director of CQT.

“SpooQy-1 is pioneering quantum technologies for space-based quantum key distribution (QKD) systems,” said Chune Yang Lum, co-founder and CEO of SpeQtral, “Being involved in this mission gives SpeQtral know-how that serves our goal of delivering next-generation secure communication networks.”

About SpeQtral

SpeQtral is developing space-based, quantum communication built on technologies developed at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore. The team has developed technologies that harness the unique properties of quantum physics to enable encryption methods that can secure communications with forward security. SpeQtral is the only team with heritage from a successful on-orbit demonstration of a quantum light source on a CubeSat, and is committed to bringing future-proof security to the commercial world.

About Centre for Quantum Technologies

The Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) is a national Research Centre of Excellence in Singapore. It brings together physicists, computer scientists and engineers to do basic research on quantum physics and to build devices based on quantum phenomena. Experts in this new discipline of quantum technologies are applying their discoveries in computing, communications and sensing. The Centre was established in December 2007 with support from Singapore’s National Research Foundation and Ministry of Education. CQT is hosted by the National University of Singapore and also has staff at Nanyang Technological University.