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China launches first ever quantum communication satellite

Chinese launched the first satellite that can achieve quantum communications between space and Earth using a Long March-2D (Chang Zheng-2D) launch vehicle from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gobi Desert at 1:40 a.m. (China time) today (16th). .

The new satellite is dedicated to quantum science experiments. The Quantum Space Satellite will test the phenomena of quantum entanglement.

Operated by the China Academy of Sciences, this 500 kg satellite – announced as the name “Mozi” in honor of a fifth century BC Chinese scientist – contains a quantum key communicator, quantum entanglement emitter, entanglement source, processing unit, and a laser communicator.

The 600-plus-kilogram satellite will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes after it enters a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers.

It is nicknamed "Micius," after a fifth century B.C. Chinese philosopher and scientist who has been credited as the first one in human history conducting optical experiments.

QUESS will relay transmissions between two ground stations (one in China, and the other in Europe) transmitting quantum keys.

During the mission, Chinese scientists will implement a series of science missions between the satellite and quantum communication ground stations.

One of the major objectives of the mission is to set a Quantum Key Distribution from satellite to ground, setting an ultra-long-range quantum channel between ground and satellite with the assistance of high-precision acquisition, tracking and pointing system, implement a quantum key distribution between the satellite and the ground stations, and carry out unconditional secure quantum communication experiments.

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