Updated: Jun 19
Theme of the Week
We Built a Glass House before the Invention of Stones “We are heavily dependent on space, and our adversaries know it,” warned the former secretary of the US Air Force years ago.
And in the wake of Russia’s anti-satellite missile tests, and interference with GPS, Starlink, and Viasat, there is now concern that war could extend into space where critical satellites are sitting ducks. So how do you protect satellites? There is no one solution, but taken in combination:
Make the satellite more secure through internal redundancy, radiation hardening, clock ensembles and on-orbit reprogramming.
Disaggregation by replacing large expensive satellites with many smaller cheaper satellites.
And splitting dual use satellites like GPS into separate commercial and military systems. Not only do they address different needs, but it will make GPS a less attractive target. Last Week's Theme: GPS Keeps the Lights On
Russia quit the International Space Station (ISS) over sanctions imposed after their invasion of Ukraine. This is just another step towards the commercialization of space, even as some within the US government “still don’t believe in working with industry.”
China recently launched a pair of commercial imaging satellites, and is moving forward with lunar missions including “communication and navigation services for future operations on the lunar surface.”
In light of this, the Defense Intelligence Agency released an “overview of the threats to U.S. space capabilities” in their "2022 Challenges to Security in Space" report. “Space-based capabilities impact many day-to-day aspects of the American way of life. These capabilities enable functions that affect our homes, transportation, electric power grids, banking systems, and our global communications.”
Quantum random number generation (QRNG) chips are coming to the new line of Samsung Galaxy Quantum 3 cell phones. And an online quantum random number generator is being launched through the Australian National University (ANU) Quantum Numbers (AQN) using “quantum technology to generate true random numbers at high speed and in real-time by measuring the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum.”
Two new QKD networks announced around London and Chicago. In London, BT and Toshiba will connect Ernst & Young (EY) sites in Canary Wharf and near London Bridge. Toshiba and the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) plan to link the University of Chicago to the Argonne National Laboratory as part of a future multi-node US quantum network.
Why is timing and synch important in telecoms? “Timing has always been important since we introduced digital switching… with TDD (time division duplex) for 5G networks we also need phase and time, that’s where it really gets tricky.”
Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, May 9 - 12, Denver, CO
IQT San Diego, May 10-12, 2022, San Diego and virtual
Commercialising Quantum, May 17 - 19, London, UK and virtual
Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA
Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA
Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY
Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY
Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah
Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA
ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO
IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO
International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK
The More You Know...
Most communications today is encrypted. For almost all cases this encryption is based on the use of public key cryptography. The security of public key cryptography relies on mathematical problems that are believed to be computationally intractable even using massive supercomputers. For decades, the use of public key cryptography has been implemented via a system known as public key infrastructure (PKI). But a large enough fault-tolerant quantum computer could break PKI, so the race is on for a replacement. There are two potential options: quantum key distribution (QKD), which requires unique hardware but is potentially more secure, and post-quantum cryptography (PQC), which is essentially a new form of PKI. PQC uses new mathematical problems that are believed to be intractable even with quantum computers. Since it's a form of public cryptography, PQC is software based and therefore much cheaper and easier to implement within current networks. There are companies building QKD systems with commercial hardware and networks already available. But QKD is still in the early adoption phase, with system cost and scalability a barrier to deployment. PQC, on the other hand, will be easier to implement once a standard has been adopted. In the US, this process has already started, though the security of some of the PQC options have been challenged. Xairos is focused on secure, high precision time transfer, not on key distribution. Performing time transfer beyond GPS precision already requires unique hardware, and current methods are insecure.