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Tesat to Build Quantum Key Payload for SES Eagle-1 Mission 

By Rachel Jewett | May 15, 2023

An infographic demonstrating plans for Europe’s satellite quantum key distribution system. Photo: ESA/SES

Tesat has joined SES’s team for the Eagle-1 quantum key distribution (QKD) satellite. SES announced last week that Tesat will develop and integrate the quantum key payload. 

Tesat will manufacture the QKD payload comprising its SCOT80 optical communications terminal, which will establish a secure optical link from space to ground. It will also manufacture the QKD module of the satellite. Tesat-Spacecom is a German company that is an independent subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space.

The European Space Agency (ESA) Eagle-1 mission, announced in September, will build the first sovereign European end-to-end space-based QKD system, and is a step toward future European quantum communications. SES is leading the project’s consortium. The satellite is set for launch in 2024. 

“The EAGLE-1 system allows for achieving synergies together with leading industry partners, SMEs and institutes, reducing time to service and to market for the quantum secure technologies and its future key users, such as governments and institutions, or banking sector,” commented Thomas Reinartz, CEO of Tesat.