China Inches Ahead Of The Space Race With The Launch Of The World's First Quantum-Communications Satellite [VIDEO]By Ron S., UniversityHerald Reporter
China has launched the world's first quantum-communications satellite on Monday to inch ahead of the space race.
The launch of the quantum-communications satellite is China's bid to build a fleet of unhackable satellites within a few years, Space.com reported.
The world's populous state's recent launch is part of the country's aim to build a system of secure communications technology with quantum-based encryption, which has yet to be proven to be a secure way of transferring data.
The satellite is called Quantum Experiments at Space Scale, or QUESS for short. The communications satellite was launched aboard the Long March-2D rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, which is located somewhere in the Gobi Desert.
Chief scientist of the quantum-based satellite project, Pan Jianwei, had stated that the QUESS is on a two-year mission, which is designed to establish a network of unhackable communications system. The satellite is the first of the few planned to orbit around the planet in the next few years, according to The New York Times.
The planned fleet of communications satellites would make use of quantum technology to exchange and transmit information. The satellites are expected to communicate from space to Earth using photons in quantum entanglement.
The photons, or beams of light, are expected to behave in a way such that one particle from space directly reacts to the one kept on Earth. The technology would serve invaluable data in secure communications, as well as further the study of quantum physics, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The system set to be established is expected to be one of the most secure transmissions known to man, as it the quantum-based encryption is deemed "virtually uncrackable."
China is not the first nation to tackle the mysteries of quantum communication, but it is the first nation to launch a satellite to initiate the possibilities of such. The 1,320 lb. satellite is expected to complete one lap around Earth every 90 minutes, with a few more quantum satellites expected to join in the following years.