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SpeQtral and Thales Alenia Space collaborate to demonstrate satellite quantum communications using entangled photons

From space to Earth: SpeQtral-1 satellite to transmit qubits to Thales Alenia Space’s ground station in precursor demonstrations for quantum information networks

PARIS, France – September 19, 2022 – SpeQtral, a leading provider of satellite quantum communication technology, and Thales Alenia Space, a joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) to research, develop and demonstrate quantum communications from space to Earth.

Quantum information networks are currently being heavily researched and developed. The industry has seen rapid development of quantum computing and quantum sensing technologies, with the promise of bringing a step change in performance improvements. In order to realise the full potential of such technologies, there will be a need to transfer quantum information across distances of varying ranges. Using satellites to transfer quantum information is actively being pursued as one of the best methods to realise long-distance quantum communications.

As part of this MOU, joint experiments will be carried out, between the SpeQtral-1 quantum satellite - currently being developed - and a state-of-the-art quantum ground receiver currently being developed by Thales Alenia Space. The joint experiments are anticipated to be completed by 2025.

Primed to be one of the first few quantum satellite missions to be launched by a commercial entity, SpeQtral-1 is anticipated to be used to demonstrate the feasibility of long-distance transfer of quantum information, as well as interconnections between various metropolitan quantum networks which are currently being set up.

Thales Alenia Space established in 2018 and has been executing since then a roadmap towards the mastery of end-to-end quantum communications. This roadmap is fully aligned to SpeQtral’s. Beyond satellites, end to end leads Thales Alenia Space to consider ground stations and overall mission segments relying on a strong telecom system integrator expertise, development on optical terminals and the two-decade experience of Thales in quantum communications.

The collaboration, which will likely involve a consortium of other relevant French technology partners as well, provides an excellent platform for both countries to collaborate and conduct joint experiments, leveraging on the respective counterparts’ strong technology heritage. This will enable all parties to innovate at the frontier of quantum information networks.

This collaboration is an important demonstration of international interoperability of quantum communication assets, a step along the path leading to global quantum information networks. Thales Alenia Space’s optical ground systems promise very high performance and we very much look forward to working with them.

said Chune Yang Lum, Co-founder and CEO of SpeQtral.

We are excited to be working with SpeQtral in these developments towards global quantum information networks,”

said Christophe VALORGE, CTO, Thales Alenia Space.

Together with SpeQtral, we have a great opportunity to experiment the quantum communications infrastructure of the future.


About Thales Alenia Space
Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of approximately 2.15 billion euros in 2021 and has around 8,900 employees in 10 countries with 17 sites in Europe and a plant in the US.

Sandrine Bielecki    Tel.: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94
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