Twenty European countries are partnering with the European Space Agency to develop Eagle-1, a satellite that provides a Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system to improve cybersecurity throughout Europe.

The increase in digitization has elevated the need for data privacy to prevent data breaches. Several companies are researching ways to enhance cybersecurity and provide safe and secure communications between end users.

A group of twenty European countries, headed by the Senior Executive Service (SES), are partnering with the European Space Agency (ESA) and European Commission to develop the Eagle-1 satellite. Based on a Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system, the satellite will offer increased information security to European nations.

The Eagle-1 satellite will launch in 2024 to stay in low earth orbit (LEO) for three years. The satellite should help next-generation quantum communication infrastructures (QCIs).

Eagle-1 and Quantum Key Distribution system

Eagle-1 will be equipped with a QKD system that guarantees exceptionally secure communications. The European Nations will continue to research ways to further secure Eagle-1’s key exchange system. The satellite can be facilitated by developing a terrestrial optical station, scalable quantum operational networks and QKD payloads to ensure more cybersecurity.

“European space innovation has gained strong momentum both from a technology perspective and in terms of commercialisation”, said Josef Aschbacher the director general of the European Space Agency (ESA). “It allows us to develop and implement next-generation, future-proof projects in space across critical domains like secure communication, next-generation networks and cybersecurity.”

“Led by ESA, partially financed by the European Commission and implemented by SES, EAGLE-1 is a major step towards making the secure and scalable European Quantum Communications Infrastructure a reality”, he added.

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