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ESA, Industry to Develop Satellite-Based Cybersecurity System

By | May 3, 2018
Signing the Quartz agreement

Magali Vaissiere, ESA director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, and Nicole Robinson, senior vice president of Global Government at SES Networks, sign the Quartz agreement Photo Credit: SES

The European Space Agency (ESA) and an SES-led consortium are developing a system that will allow the generation of encryption keys from space, as well as their secure transmission to users on Earth via laser.

Under the agreement with ESA, the consortium of industry partners will establish a Quantum Cryptography Telecommunication System (Quartz), a new platform aimed at providing a global service for next-generation encryption keys for use in geographically dispersed networks. Possible applications will address the needs of users such as telecommunication operators, financial organizations, infrastructure providers, institutions and potentially governmental organizations.

In the framework of the Quartz project, SES will define, design and develop a satellite-based Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system and service architecture, which includes the future service and the core technologies up to ground end-to-end testing. Other consortium members will provide specific technological contributions and expertise for various elements of the system, and will include companies and research organizations from ESA member states such as Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and The Netherlands.