The UK and Singapore are developing new quantum space technologies and are partnering to build and fly a satellite quantum key distribution (QKD) test bed. The satellite project is a collaboration between the UK and Singapore governments and is a £10 million initiative (~ €11.2m).
The new quantum space technologies are intended to provide an alternative to current technologies. The QKD system is an alternative to ground-based fibre infrastructure and is resistant to computational attacks, even from future quantum computers, to ensure national and international security.
The importance of new quantum space technologies
Dr Artur Ekert, Director of CQT said: “Having access to quantum-secured communication is a smart step for cybersecurity. We already have trials over fibre for secure communication within Singapore, building on CQT’s decade of development of this quantum technology. Reaching into space with our UK partner is a strategic move towards global data security.”
The UK-Singapore collaboration
The director of programmes at the National Research Foundation (NRF) in Singapore, George Loh, said: “Singapore has developed deep research capabilities in quantum technologies through our past investments in the Centre for Quantum Technologies. Singapore and UK share the same outlook to leverage research and innovation to develop capabilities and derive benefits for each country. This collaboration with UK is significant for both countries to bring together our experts to demonstrate satellite-based QKD communication capability. Singapore will also bring in local companies to develop and commercialise products and services in the QKD market, as well as other forms of space and quantum technologies.”
The UK investment is part of the Industrial Strategy for developing new opportunities for the UK space sector. The UK and Singapore have an established collaboration since the bilateral Innovation and Research Partnership in 2014.
The UK Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Science has no borders and this is a brilliant example of our world leading space sector using technology to benefit consumers, keeping our data safer than ever before…our commitment to science is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy and international collaborations are vital to putting the UK on the world stage as an innovation superpower.”