The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangaluru-based deep tech startup QNu Labs to develop indigenous Satellite QKD (quantum key distribution) products. With this MoU, QNu Labs, with the support of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and IN-SPACe, aims to demonstrate unlimited distance Satellite QKD based quantum secure communication, according to a joint statement.
Terrestrial QKD systems have the limitation of requirement of repeaters every 100-150 kms, which is a big hindrance in creating a large-scale Quantum Secure Network, it was noted.
“With Satellite QKD capability, India holds the potential to become a world leader in creating Quantum Secure Communication Network“, the statement said.
“The outcome of this collaboration shall ensure that India leads the future of global quantum communication networks that will involve a combination of the quantum-satellite constellation, providing intercontinental connectivity”, it added.
Director Programme Management and Authorisation, IN-SPACe, Department of Space, Dr. Prafulla K Jain, said QKD is an essential technology development that uses principles of quantum mechanics to ensure security to sensitive information shared among different parties.
For a country like India, with the expansion of the space sector and with significant shifts in advanced technologies especially in network and communication domains, it is very crucial to have a robust ecosystem in place so that we have smooth operations without having to compromise any sensitive data, he said.
Jain hoped that this partnership with QNu Labs will pave the way for stringent collaborations to strengthen India’s Quantum Secure Communication Network.
CEO and Co-Founder of QNu Labs, Sunil Gupta believes this will be a highly innovative partnership with ISRO’s leadership in space-based communication infrastructure and QNu Labs’ leadership in quantum technology.
This technology will be a game changer and can be used to keep the exchange of sensitive information secure across long distances, according to him.
He envisages using quantum technology to reinforce India’s scientific leadership and excellence in quantum secure communication, and to increase India’s autonomy in this strategic field.
Chief Product Officer at QNu Labs, Dilip Singh stated that this partnership project shall pave the path for a home-grown deep tech startup like QNu Labs to be first of its kind globally, to demonstrate QKD network capability covering both terrestrial as well as satellite medium.
ISRO with its broad expertise in this domain will play a pivotal role in helping QNu Labs achieve this milestone by supporting payload designs, telemetry, and other related activities, the statement said.
IN-SPACe will facilitate QNu Labs to achieve the objectives, it said. This project will provide secure cryptographic key delivery services to customers for a range of applications catering to the industry, government & defence sectors where the security and confidentiality of shared information are crucial.
IN-SPACe was constituted in June 2020 following the central government’s decision to open up the space sector and enable the participation of Indian private sector in the gamut of space activities.
IN-SPACe acts as a single-window, independent, nodal agency which functions as an autonomous agency in the Department of Space.
IN-SPACe is responsible for the promotion, enabling, authorization, and supervision of various space activities of the Non-Governmental Entities that include, among others, the building of launch vehicles & satellites and providing space-based services; sharing of space infrastructure and premises under ISRO; and establishment of new space infrastructure and facilities.