IN-SPACe Signs MoU with QNu Labs to Develop Indigenous Quantum Tech Satellite QKD

  • With this MoU, QNu Labs with the support of ISRO and IN-SPACe, aims to demonstrate Satellite QKD based quantum secure communication
  • The partnership aims to help India in developing Satellite QKD based quantum secure communication

Defence Industry

Bengaluru: The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangalore-based deep tech startup QNu Labs to develop indigenous Satellite QKD (quantum key distribution) products. With this MoU, QNu Labs, with the support of ISRO and IN-SPACe, aims to demonstrate unlimited distance Satellite QKD based quantum secure communication.

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. With Satellite QKD capability, India holds the potential to become a world leader in creating Quantum Secure Communication Network.

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.

Dr Prafulla K Jain, Director Programme Management and Authorization, IN-SPACe, Department of Space, 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. I hope that this partnership with QNu Labs will pave the way for stringent collaborations to strengthen India’s Quantum Secure Communication Network.”

Sunil Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder of QNu Labs 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 secure the exchange of sensitive information across long distances.  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.

Dilip Singh, Chief Product Officer at QNU Labs stated that QNu Labs is excited for this collaboration which would create new technology and patents for the country in its quest to become the world leader in Quantum Secure Communication. 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. IN-SPACe will facilitate QNu Labs to achieve the objectives. 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, constituted in June 2020 through its initiatives has opened up the space sector and enabled the participation of Indian private sector in the gamut of space activities. Acting as a single-window, independent, nodal agency IN-SPACe is responsible for the promotion, enabling, authorisation, and supervision of various space activities of the Non-Governmental Entities (NGEs) 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. The functions of IN-SPACe are being carried out by three Directorates viz., Promotion Directorate (PD), Technical Directorate (TD) and Program Management and Authorization Directorate (PMAD).