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Thales Alenia Space to Lead ESA Quantum Satcom Project

By Rachel Jewett | January 23, 2023

Conceptual image for global business or European communication technology. Photo: Thales Alenia Space, elements from NASA

Thales Alenia Space signed a deal to lead the European Space Agency’s TeQuantS project to develop quantum technologies for cybersecurity applications and future quantum information networks.

Under the program, Thales and partners plan to build satellites and optical ground stations by the end of 2026 to demonstrate long-distance quantum satellite links. The program is meant to develop new cryptography based on the quantum properties of light to keep information secure in the future when quantum computers are able to crack cryptographic systems. 

The Thales-led consortium includes fellow prime Airbus Defence and Space, and seven smaller firms and startups: Alpao, Aurea Technology, Bertin Technologies, Miratlas, OGS Technologies, QTlabs and SigmaWorks. Two research laboratories — LIP6 at Sorbonne University and the Nice Institute of Physics are also involved.  

“We are delighted to be working with our partners to develop quantum technologies that will demonstrate the ability to establish operational long-distance satellite quantum communications links and support Europe’s sovereignty in this area,” said Marc-Henri Serre, Thales Alenia Space executive vice president for Telecommunications.