Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technologies provide the means to distribute symmetric random bit strings to be used as Information Theoretically Secure (ITS) keys, even against an eavesdropper with an unbounded computational ability. Due to the distance limitation of quantum communication via ground-based fibre networks, space-based QKD is a viable solution to extend such networks for global reach.
The Caramuel project targets the full design, development, launch, and operation of the first QKD system implementation from geostationary orbit (GEO). The space segment will be embarked as a hosted payload on Hispasat’s next High Throughput Satellite (HTS). The new ground segment to manage and control the QKD service will enable its integration into the future European Quantum Communications Infrastructure (EuroQCI).
During the feasibility study phase of the project, the different technological and architectural alternatives are being evaluated, in accordance with the state of the art and the requirements of the services to be delivered, leading to the definition and specification of the system and the associated development plan.
This activity is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) under the ARTES Core Competitiveness Component B “Competitiveness & Growth” Programme, through the Spanish Delegation (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial, CDTI).
In addition to HISPASAT, this feasibility study consortium includes the companies: Alter, Banco Santander, BBVA, Cellnex, Das Photonics, GMV, Indra, Grupo Oesia, Quside, Sener, Telefónica and Thales Alenia Space España; and the institutions and academia: Centro Criptológico Nacional (CCN), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas (ICFO), Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), and Universidade de Vigo.