(EENews) The UK’s innovation agency has awarded a £23m project to build a quantum key distribution (QKD) payload for a satellite. The first small satellite for low Earth orbit (LEO) is being built by the European Space Agency (ESA)
The “Quantum Payload Factory” project commissioned by InnovateUK is led by a London-based service provider startup called Arqit and aims to establish the world’s first commercial QKD satellite constellation. This is a considerable challenge given China’s lead with a QKD satellite in space and European satellite operator SES also working on the technology (see links below).
The partners developing the payload include BT, Toshiba Research labs, Fraunhofer UK Research as well as NU Quantum, London-based quantum fibre specialist Orca Computing and STFC Laboratories. The photonic quantum chips for the payload will be developed by AegiQ in Sheffield: