The Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities will allocate 125 million euros to the first Spanish geostationary mission for “quantum key distribution”, an initiative that will allow progress in communications security.
The department has resolved the “design phase” of that first mission, and the Minister of Science, Diana Morant, has highlighted that the Government is training Spain “to be one of the leading countries in quantum technology, which could be incorporated into the European constellation of secure satellite communications”, known as “Iris Square”.
This is the first Spanish geostationary mission to distribute quantum keys -quantum key distribution (QKD)- and the ministry has made the award through the Center for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI).
The winning companies are Thales Alenia Space Spain , for the “QKD GEO” submission, which is aimed at developing a payload to be embarked on a geostationary satellite at 35,786 kilometers above sea level; and Sener Aeroespacial and Telespazio ibérica SLU . for the “QKD LEO” submission, aimed at the development of a payload intended to be embarked on a low Earth orbit satellite.
The design process of the R&D solution lasts up to four months from the date of award, the Ministry of Science has reported in a press release, and has specified that once the designs have been delivered and evaluated, the company selected for each submission will go to the development, construction, verification and validation phase of prototypes, which lasts up to 20 months.
The project, which falls within the scope of PERTE Aerospace , is endowed with a total budget of 125 million euros from the European funds of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Ministry for Digital Transformation and the Public Service , through of the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures.
The initiative is managed through the CDTI ‘s “pre-commercial” public procurement instrument and in coordination with the Spanish Space Agency.
The project will allow the creation of new knowledge through innovative R&D, since there are no technological solutions on the market that respond to this technological challenge, explained the Ministry of Science.