India’s national space agency, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has made it to the headlines recently for demonstrating free-space quantum communication over a distance of 300 meters for the very first time. Reportedly, the government agency is claimed to make use of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology.
For the record, QKD technology supports quantum communication technology which ensures unconditional data security and safety by virtue of principles of quantum mechanics, which looks quite impossible with conventional encryption systems.
That said, conventional cryptosystems, generally used for data-encryption rely on the complexity of mathematical algorithms while the security offered by QC is based on the laws of Physics. Therefore, quantum cryptography is deemed as a ‘future-proof concept’, since no future developments in computational power can disrupt quantum cryptosystem.
Credible sources suggest that the demonstration included live videoconferencing, making use of quantum key encrypted signals, and was carried out at Space Applications Center (SAC) in Ahmedabad, between two LOS buildings within the campus. The study was performed during the night in order to make sure that there is almost negligible interference of sunlight.
Apparently, the experiment comes out to be a major achievement for unconditionally protected satellite data communication while making use of quantum technologies. Not to mention, it also stands as a revolutionary move towards ISRO’s aim of signifying Satellite Based Quantum Communication, wherein ISRO is gearing up to present the technology between two Indian ground stations.
ISRO, in a report, has mentioned that a number of key technologies are being developed indigenously to achieve the major breakthrough, which included the applications of an indigenously built navigation satellite system, a receiver for time harmonization between the transmitter and receiver modules, and gimbal mechanism systems as a substitute for bulky large-space telescopes for optical placement.