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Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) Hands Over Satellite Operations of SpooQy-1 CubeSat to SpeQtral

December 13, 2019

SpeQtral has taken over operations of the SpooQy-1 nanosatellite on behalf of the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore.

SpooQy-1 is a shoebox-sized, 3U CubeSat hosting a quantum payload developed at CQT. It was launched April 2019 and subsequently deployed from the International Space Station on 17 June 2019. The quantum payload is the world’s first entangled photon source compact enough to fit on a CubeSat and qualified for the harsh space environment.

The primary objective of the SpooQy-1 mission is to produce and characterize entangled photon pairs in space such that they violate the CHSH (Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt) Bell’s inequality. This is a core capability for future quantum communication networks. The CQT team is analysing scientific data from the mission and expects to publish results on the source’s performance in 2020.

In the meantime, CQT and SpeQtral have signed an agreement allowing SpeQtral to manage ongoing operations. Formed as a spin-out company to commercialize quantum communications technologies developed at CQT, SpeQtral will monitor the long-term performance of the quantum payload for radiation damage and other degradation effects in the space environment. This information will help guide the development of long-lived quantum systems in space, necessary for the commercial deployment of space-based QKD systems.

“Establishing a partnership for the SpooQy mission plays to all our strengths: at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, we will concentrate on scientific objectives, while SpeQtral focuses on commercial applications,” says Artur Ekert, Director of CQT.

“SpooQy-1 is pioneering quantum technologies for space-based quantum key distribution (QKD) systems,” said Chune Yang Lum, co-founder and CEO of SpeQtral, “Being involved in this mission gives SpeQtral know-how that serves our goal of delivering next-generation secure communication networks.”

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