Robert Bedington (9:05 — 9:30)

CQT SpooQySat – a precursor mission to CubeSat QKD

Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a method for enabling highly secured communications that are not vulnerable to attacks from quantum computers. Satellites allow QKD links to be extended to global scales, as was demonstrated last year by the (630kg) Micius mission by the China Academy of Sciences. CQT are working to greatly miniaturise such technologies however to allow satellite QKD to be performed using CubeSats. The upcoming (~3kg) SpooQySat mission will demonstrate on-orbit operations of CQT’s highly compact (2U), ruggedised entangled photon source. Entangled photon sources like this are critical components in QKD setups for performing the most sophisticated forms of QKD, and locating them in space enables the most secure forms of QKD to be demonstrated. SpooQySat will be used to violate Bell’s inequality on board a CubeSat and to investigate how well the source performs, and how well it ages in the low earth orbit environment. The developments and lessons learned from this mission will be used to enable CubeSat-based QKD missions in the coming years.