Chinese quantum satellite sends "unbreakable" code

Geronimo Vena
Agosto 10, 2017

This marks the first time space-to-ground quantum key distribution technology has been realised, in what state agency Xinhua called "laying the foundation for building a hack-proof global quantum communication network".

The satellite, called Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), is claimed to be the world's first of its kind, and was sent into a sun-synchronous orbit on August 16, 2016.

Pan Jianwei, lead scientist of QUESS and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said the satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in Xinglong, in north China's Hebei Province, and Nanshan, near Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Coming to the details of the process, according to the sources, the satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in the country between 645 km and 1,200 km away at a transmission rate up to 20 orders of magnitude more efficient than an optical fiber.

When the satellite flies over China, it provides an experiment window of about 10 minutes. "The establishment of a reliable and efficient space-to-ground link for faithful quantum state transmission paves the way to global-scale quantum networks".

Researchers said this can meet the demands of making an absolutely safe phone call, or transmitting a large amount of bank data.

Since 1970, China has launched more than 100 satellites for weather and disaster monitoring, communications and navigation.

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