China Launching Quantum Satellite

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  According to the physicist, cited by the People’s Daily Online, the quantum network will connect Beijing, Jinan, Hefei and Shanghai among other cities spanning a 2,000-kilometer (1,243 miles) area.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite

China Launching Quantum Satellite; Space-Cowboys: China Plans Manned Moon Landing by 2036   China Launching Quantum Satellite —  Chinese physicists reportedly inaugurated the quantum satellite development program in 2011. In 2013, quantum optical fiber communication was introduced across the Beijing-Shanghai line. Since the beginning of the 20th century, scientists have been studying encryption methods to secure communications against hacking. Quantum networks use Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to ensure an interceptor can neither crack encryption codes nor wiretap lines.


“China Launches World’s 1st ‘Hack-Proof’ Quantum Communication Satellite”

China has taken one more step forward towards achieving success in Quantum communication technology.  China has launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite into orbit aboard a Long March-2D rocket earlier today in order to test the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics at space.

‘Hack-Proof’ Communications System

The satellite, dubbed Quantum Science Satellite, is designed to develop a ‘Hack-Proof‘ communications system in this age of global electronic surveillance and cyber attacks by transmitting uncrackable encryption keys from space to the ground.

 The 600-plus-kilogram Quantum Science Satellite, better known as Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) satellite, took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gobi Desert at 1:40 AM local time on a 2-year mission on Tuesday.The QUESS satellite will help China perform unprecedented levels of experiments in quantum communication by sending entangled photons from the satellite to relay stations in China and Europe, which is separated by about 1,200 kilometers (746 miles).

The pioneering experiment is to test if the spooky property of quantum entanglement can work at long distances as well.

The satellite’s payloads include:

  • Quantum key communicator
  • Quantum entanglement emitter
  • Quantum entanglement source
  • Quantum experiment controller
  • Processor
  • Laser communicator

The payloads, designed to operate for two years, were developed by the National Space Science Center in Beijing under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The QUESS satellite will also test the possibilities of communication via quantum ‘teleportation,’ using an entangled pair of photons.

 If the satellite is able to successfully transmit quantum information securely between two ground stations, it could have huge implications for encryption and cryptography.

China has largely been ambitious to realize the importance of Quantum technology. From past two decades, Quantum technology has been a top strategic focus in the country’s 5-year economic development plan.

While the United States invested about $200 Million a year in quantum research, China spent $101 Billion in quantum physics in 2015, up from $1.9 Billion in 2005.

China Invests Billions of Dollars in Quantum Technology

Quantum communication encryption is secure against any kind of interception because information is encoded in a quantum particle in such a way that it will be destroyed as soon as the system detects any intrusion attempts.

For example, when two people share an encrypted quantum message and a third person intercepts it, the message will change in an unpredictable way.

Quantum researchers have recently experimented the use of photons to successfully communicate securely over short distances on earth.

But if successful, the QUESS satellite would vastly expand the range of unhackable communication to long distances as well.

“The newly-launched satellite marks a transition in China’s role – from a follower in classic information technology development to one of the leaders guiding future achievements,” Pan Jianwei, the scientist who is leading the project, told the official Xinhua news agency.

If successful, the QUESS satellite would be the world’s first transcontinental quantum key distribution network of its kind and China hopes to erect a global quantum communications network in 2030.

“If China is going to send more quantum communication satellites into orbit, we can expect a global network of quantum communications to be set up around 2030,” Pan added.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  Beijing will send the world’s first quantum communications satellite into space in June 2016– around the same time as it aims to put the world’s longest quantum communications network into service, according to Pan Jianwei, the projects’ chief scientist. The network would be used by the central government, military and critical business institutions like banks.

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  If all goes to schedule, China would be the first country to put a quantum communications satellite in orbit, said Wang Jianyu, deputy director of the China Academy of Science’s (CAS) Shanghai branch. At a conference on quantum science in Shanghai, Wang said scientists from CAS and other institutions have completed major research and development tasks for launching the satellite equipped with quantum communications gear, South China Morning Post said. The launch of the satellite is scheduled for June, the international weekly of science Nature reports.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based SatelliteSatellite Mission Objective

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  The aim of the new experiment conducted by a team led by physicist Pan Jian-Wei from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei is: “To see if we can establish quantum key distribution [the encoding and sharing of a secret cryptographic key using the quantum properties of photons] between a ground station in Beijing and the satellite, and between the satellite and Vienna. Then we can see whether it is possible to establish a quantum key between Beijing and Vienna, using the satellite as a relay.”

The second step will be to perform long-distance entanglement distribution, over about 1,000 kilometres. We have technology on the satellite that can produce pairs of entangled photons. We beam one photon of an entangled pair to a station in Delingha, Tibet, and the other to a station in Lijiang or Nanshan. The distance between the two ground stations is about 1,200 kilometres. Previous tests were done on the order of 100 kilometres.

Scientists plan to conduct satellite entangled photon quantum teleportation between stations located in the Chinese cities of Delingha and Lijiang or Nanshan, According to Pan, the technology is based on beaming one photon from an entangled pair to a distant location and then teleporting the quantum state of a third photon using the entangled photon as a conduit.

“In principle, quantum entanglement can exist for any distance. But we want to see if there is some physical limit… we hope to build some sort of macroscopic system in which we can show that the quantum phenomena can still exist,” Pan told Nature, in describing the theoretical premises for the experiment.

This could potentially facilitate super-fast, long-range communications, as well as lead to the creation of unbreakable quantum communication networks.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite

Global Satellite Quantum Network

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  Communications satellite launch in 2016 launch would be a first step toward building a quantum communications network in the sky. China hopes to complete a Asia-Europe intercontinental quantum key distribution in 2020 and build a global quantum communication network by 2030. China is first country to release a detailed schedule to put this technology to large-scale use.

Chinese team has already successfully reflected individual photons off an orbiting satellite, to simulate a satellite sending photons to the ground.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite
Quantum Communication between Earth and Moon

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  In the future, Pan also hopes to create a signal transmitting system that could facilitate communication between the Earth and the Moon.
“In the future, we also want to see if it is possible to distribute entanglement between Earth and the Moon. We hope to use the [China’s Moon program] to send a quantum satellite to one of the gravitationally-stable points in the Earth-Moon system,” he told the weekly.

The team’s future plans also include making use of China’s future space station, Tiangong, which is expected to be created by the end of the decade, to conduct “upgraded” quantum experiments.

“We will have a quantum experiment on the space station and it will make our studies easier because we can from time to time upgrade our experiment (unlike on the quantum satellite).”

“I think China has an obligation not just to do something for ourselves — many other countries have been to the Moon, have done manned spaceflight — but to explore something unknown,” Pen said.

The scientist also predicted that the world will soon enter a quantum era with a revolution in quantum physics taking the world by storm and leading to the creation of super-fast quantum computers and large quantum communication networks, China’s People’s Daily reported.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite
Military Capability

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  “China is completely capable of making full use of quantum communications in a regional war,” China’s leading quantum-communications scientist, Pan Jianwei, said. “The direction of development in the future calls for using relay satellites to realize quantum communications and control that covers the entire army.”

Matthew Luce, a researcher with Defense Group Inc.’s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, thinks “A functional satellite-based quantum communication system would give the Chinese military the ability to operate further afield without fear of message interception.”

Although the Chinese government has not revealed the projects budget, scientists told state media that the construction cost would be ¥100m (£10.17m) for every 10,000 users, according to the South China Morning Post.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite Quantum Key Distribution

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  Quantum technology is considered to be unbreakable and impossible to hack. A unique aspect of quantum cryptography is that Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle ensures that if Eve attempts to intercept and measure Alice’s quantum transmissions, her activities must produce an irreversible change in the quantum states that are retransmitted to Bob. These changes will introduce an anomalously high error rate in the transmissions between Alice and Bob, allowing them to detect the attempted eavesdropping.

Quantum key distribution (QKD), establishes highly secure keys between distant parties by using single photons to transmit each bit of the key. Photons are ideal for propagating over long-distances in free-space and are thus best suited for quantum communication experiments between space and ground. The unit of quantum information is the “qubit” (a bit of information “stamped” in a quantum physical property, for instance the polarization of a photon).

QKD thus solves the long-standing problem of securely transporting cryptographic keys between distant locations. “Even if the keys were transmitted across hostile territory, their integrity could be unambiguously verified upon receipt,” say Thomas Jennewein, Brendon Higgins and Eric Choi in SPIE.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite Free Space QKD systems

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  Ground-based QKD systems are commercially available today, however are point to point links and limited to the order of 200 km because of current optical fiber and photon detector technology.

One way to overcome this limitation is by bringing quantum communication into space. An international team led by the Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger has successfully transmitted quantum states between the two Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife, over a distance of 143 km.

The previous record, set by researchers in China was 97 km. The process called quantum teleportation allows the state of one of the two entangled photons to be changed immediately without delay by changing the state of other photon even though they may be widely separated.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite
Satellite based Quantum Communications

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  Satellite-based quantum communication systems offer an approach for surpassing distance limitations even with today’s technology, and make a truly global network for quantum communication feasible in the near term.

However, the demonstration of the feasibility of such links is crucial for designing space payloads and to eventually enable the realization of protocols such as quantum-key-distribution (QKD) and quantum teleportation along satellite-to-ground or intersatellite links.

The Chinese satellite experiment faces many technical challenges: “The satellite will fly so fast (it takes just 90 minutes to orbit Earth) and there will be turbulence and other problems — so the single-photon beam can be seriously affected. Also we have to overcome background noise from sunlight, the Moon and light noise from cities, which are much stronger than our single photon,” said Pan .

Researchers have already demonstrated the faithful transmission of qubits from space to ground by exploiting satellite corner cube retroreflectors acting as transmitter in orbit, obtaining a low error rate suitable for QKD. A key factor is the error rate in this process, if the error rate is above 11 percent, quantum cryptography does not work.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite
University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC)

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  Recently a team led by Professor Thomas Jennewein at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) completed a successful laboratory demonstration of a form, fit and function prototype of a Quantum Key Distribution Receiver (QKDR) suitable for airborne experiments and ultimately Earth orbiting satellite missions.

The team designed and built the QKDR under a $600,000 contract from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The prototype QKDR needed to accommodate the payload constraints of a microsatellite-class mission. That included using only 10 W of power and weighing less than 12 kg.

Through radiation testing at TRIUMF located at the University of British Columbia, it was shown that with adequate shielding and cooling the QKDR detector devices can survive and operate in the space radiation environment for at least one year and possibly up to 10 years. The team also defined a credible path-to-flight for all key technologies including the miniaturized integrated optics, detectors and data processing electronics for the satellite payload.

China Launching Quantum Space-Based Satellite
QEYSSat (Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite) microsatellite mission

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  Researchers from University of Waterloo have proposed microsatellite mission called QEYSSat (Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite) through a series of conceptual and technical studies funded primarily by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). QEYSSat’s mission objectives are to demonstrate the generation of encryption keys through the creation of quantum links between ground and space, and also to conduct fundamental science tests of long-distance quantum entanglement (the intriguing phenomenon in which the joint quantum state of, for example, two particles cannot be factored into a product of individual particle states).

“The quantum signals for QEYSSat will be generated in photon sources located on the ground. An optical transmitter on the ground will point the beam of photons toward the satellite. (QKD can be carried out via such quantum uplinks, along with ordinary classical communication with the satellite,” said the researchers. An important aspect of this mission concept is to keep the complex source technologies on the ground and ensure that the satellite is simple and cost-effective. This approach also allows the quantum link to be implemented using various different types of quantum sources, including entangled photons and weak coherent pulses.

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  “Placing the quantum receiver in space, however, poses some technical challenges of its own. In particular, the expected link losses will be higher for the uplink than they would be for a downlink because atmospheric turbulence perturbs the photons at the start of their journey up to the satellite. In addition, the dark counts of single-photon detectors will rise due to radiation exposure in orbit,” write the researchers in SPIE.

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  The current platform for the QEYSSat mission proposal is based on a microsatellite, to be located in a low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 600km. The payload would have an optical receiver with 40cm aperture as the main optics. “The QEYSSat payload will include the capability to analyze and detect single optical photons with high efficiency and accuracy. Each arriving photon will be analyzed in a polarization analyzer and detected in single-photon detectors. Onboard data acquisition will register all detection events and record their time-stamps to subnanosecond precision, for processing later on the ground.”

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  To show the viability of this mission concept, Researchers have conducted several theoretical and experimental studies, including a comprehensive link performance analysis, as well as QKD experiments over high transmission losses and over a rapidly fluctuating channel. Typical QKD experiments operate with 20–30dB of losses, but for a satellite link the losses are expected to be about 40dB or more. Researchers studied how to implement a QKD protocol in the case of such high transmission losses and operated a system successfully with losses up to nearly 60dB.

China Launching Quantum Satellite —  “Fluctuations caused by turbulence will be particularly important when sending quantum signals to a satellite. We showed that quantum communication using single photons is still possible even when the channel transmission is strongly fluctuating, down to complete drop outs of the signal. We also showed that in the extreme case of very high transmission losses, we can improve the signal-to-noise ratio and keep performing QKD by applying a threshold filter to the data in post-processing,” write the researchers in SPIE.

European scientists have proposed a quantum communications experiment that could be sent to the international space station. The launch of the world’s first quantum space satellite developed by China is scheduled for July, according to the project’s chief scientist Pan Jianwei.

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