ID Quantique joins EAGLE-1, Europe’s pioneering quantum key distribution initiative
The ESA- and EC-supported EAGLE-1 LEO satellite will be equipped with innovative security features developed by ID Quantique and TESAT, Europe’s leading laser communication technology company.
ID Quantique (IDQ), the leader in quantum-safe security solutions, is proud to announce its participation in the EAGLE-1 initiative. EAGLE-1 is a QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) system integrating both space and ground segments that will deliver secure transmission of encryption keys across geographically dispersed areas and demonstrate the connection from space of EU’s national quantum communications infrastructures for truly sovereign networks. EAGLE-1 is developed by a consortium of 20 European organisations led by SES and funded, in part, by the European Space Agency and the European Commission.
TESAT will manufacture the QKD payload comprising the Scalable Optical Terminal SCOT80 to establish a secure optical link from space to ground, as well as the QKD module of the satellite.
To deliver the payload, TESAT selected ID Quantique to contribute to the design and delivery of a space-qualified cryptographic key generation system based on IDQ’s Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) chipsets technology. The high-performance electronic board integrated into the EAGLE-1 QKD payload will generate the random key material that will be further transmitted by the satellite to the ground stations.
The technology integrated into the EAGLE-1 system will include built-in redundancy and is specifically designed to be associated with the satellite communications and data transmission for such areas as government, telco operators, cloud providers and banking, to add guaranteed security of the cryptographic applications.
“We are delighted to bring our expertise in integrating secure technologies, and a track record of almost 80,000 executed optical satellite links for the benefit of this highly-important and timely European project,” said Thomas Reinartz, CEO of TESAT. “The EAGLE-1 system allows for achieving synergies together with leading industry partners, 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. Together with ID Quantique, we are looking forward to strengthen European collaboration and contributing to European sovereignty in space.”
“Ensuring that communications remain safe is increasingly vital, and even more so with the rapidly-emerging technology of quantum computing,” said Grégoire Ribordy, CEO of ID Quantique. “We are delighted to join this project, by providing our QRNG chipsets and space-qualified electronics that will enable the security of the QKD satellite, and allow the EU Member States to leverage the most innovative technology for development of secure and sovereign networks.”
The EAGLE-1 project comprising satellite and ground infrastructure is developed by SES and its consortium of 20 European partners, and is co-funded by the ESA contribution of Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic under ARTES, as well as the European Commission through Horizon Europe.
Once launched in 2024, the EAGLE-1 satellite will complete three years of in-orbit mission. During the operational phase, the satellite will allow European Union governments and institutions as well as critical business sectors early access to long-distance QKD that would pave the way towards an EU constellation enabling ultra-secure data transmissions.
Learn more about EAGLE-1 and SES-led consortium of European partners here.