China launches World’s first Quantum Communication Satellite

China has successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite dubbed as Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS) satellite.

The satellite was launched on board of Long March-2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Gansu.

Key Features

  • The QUESS satellite has been nicknamed as Micius after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher.
  • It will be located in sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km and will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes.
  • The satellite will help China to establish hack-proof communications system by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground.
  • Applications: Ranges from highly secured military and government communications to online shopping.

Significance

Earlier, researchers around the world had successfully sent quantum messages on land. But this first of its kind satellite-based quantum network would make it possible to send quickly encrypted (hack proof) messages around the world. It also opens door to other possible uses of the technology. The launch is also a major triumph for China in the field of quantum technology.

What is Quantum communication?

  • Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security communication. It uses subatomic particles to securely communicate between two points.
  • In case intruder (hacker) tries to crack the message in Quantum communication, it will change its form in a way that would alert the sender and cause the message to be altered or deleted.

Note: Chinese philosopher Micius has been credited for conducting optical experiments.

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Categories: International Current Affairs 2017Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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