China’s Micius, the world’s first quantum communication satellite, is able to preliminarily meet the demands of secure communication of relevant departments, said Pan Jianwei, a leading Chinese quantum scientist and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
He made the remarks when introducing the progress of the self-developed satellite at a press conference for the second session of the 13th National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on March 10.
In the past two years, scientists have increased satellite-to-earth quantum key distribution by 40 times for the Micius, enabling the satellite to transmit 400,000 encryption keys just in one second, said Pan, who is also a member of the 13th CPPCC National Committee.
Micius, also known as the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), has two main targets, Pan introduced. It aims to realize secure quantum communications between satellite and ground stations, and verify the non-locality of quantum mechanics raised by Albert Einstein at space scale.
“Micius outperformed our expectation, as it only took a couple of months to complete the scientific experiments that were planned to be finished in two years,” Pan said.
It allowed Pan and his team more time to improve the satellite in the past three years, and practical progress was made by the scientific experiments satellite.
At present, the Micius only functions at night due to the interference from the strong sunshine at the daytime.
According to Pan, he and his team are planning to build a medium-high-orbit quantum communication satellite to offer 24-hour services. The satellite will be able to generate encryption keys at any time, so as to fulfill the demand of information transmission in future commercial application, Pan said.
Information security is closely related with public interests, and personal privacy is not the only sector concerned, Pan said.
He took autopilot technology as an example, saying that a highly secured remote-control system is very much needed for future vehicles to prevent potential hacker attacks that might hinder driving safety.
Quantum communication, featuring theoretical unconditional security, can significantly enhance the information security, Pan noted.
“Scientists are working hard to expand the coverage of quantum communication technology, and trying to lower the cost to have the public share the benefits of the technology at an early date,” he added.