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February 21, 2022

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Hub partner to lead new International Network in Space Quantum Technologies

The University of Strathclyde, one of the Quantum Communications Hub’s academic partners, is to lead the newly funded International Network in Space Quantum Technologies, which aims will tackle the challenges of taking terrestrial quantum technologies into space.

The network, which will receive £480,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), comprises 37 members in 13 countries. Other Hub partners which are also members of the network are: Queens University Belfast, the Universities of Bristol, York & Waterloo, Craft Prospect Ltd, the National Physical Laboratory and RAL Space.

Through the development of satellite-enabled quantum-secure communication and Earth observation, the network outputs will have applications in combating climate change, space weather forecasting, satellite navigation and extra-terrestrial surveying.

Daniel Oi, Co-Investigator of the Quantum Communications Hub and Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, is leading the network with his colleague Paul Griffin and commented:

“This is an important international initiative which will strengthen the sense of communality in the international quantum community, at Strathclyde, and among our partners.

“Taking quantum technologies into space is extremely difficult and will require concerted international effort to realise. There are considerable challenges, such as the requirement to survive launch, the radiation environment in space, autonomous and remote operation and the limited size, weight and power constraints of satellites. However, the rewards will be truly transformative on a global scale.

“The long lines of sight in the space domain will eventually enable the quantum internet and the vantage point afforded from orbit is valuable for quantum enhanced remote sensing and Earth observation. Space-based quantum clocks allow for more accurate timing distribution and synchronisation, enhancing the performance of global navigation satellite systems.

“There’s a need to bring together the active but widespread community working on space quantum technologies, to combine their collective knowledge and experience and develop and innovate new ideas and concepts.”