The pace of space-based Quantum Key Distribution is now accelerating, with a number of proof-of-concept missions deployed or planned. Within the UK, the QUARC (QUAntum Research CubeSat) team has been progressing key enabling quantum technologies targeting minaturised satellite platforms. While it is known that CubeSats offer a cost effective and potentially disruptive demonstration opportunity, the extent to which these small satellites can augment emerging QKD ground and space based capability is yet to be addressed. This requires aligning the operational concept for CubeSat based QKD missions to the business needs of telecom providers and infrastructure. The work will bring together the mission and system design and enabling technologies with the context and timelines for deploying into these larger telecom driven system-of-systems. It will identify the feasibility of specific niches for exploitation by CubeSats as QKD matures based on these use cases, and work both with investors and segment suppliers to deliver an attractive and costed package providing a feasible route to market. In addressing an application market, the service level agreements and resultant CubeSat mission assurance necessary will be critical with buy-in from all stakeholders and tested with end users. The work will further inform technology development activities ensuring that effective technology or service raising opportunities can be taken. The innovation focus for this feasibility study is establishing the scope for CubeSats to augment the emergence and delivery of wider QKD networks, providing business context for enabling technology development, and generating a realistic baseline of the mission assurance necessary to satisfy end users and investors.
|Effective start/end date||1/04/18 → 28/03/19|
- EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council): £14,340.00