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    China's quantum satellite - nicknamed Micius after a 5th century BC Chinese scientist - blasts off from the Jiuquan satellite launch centre in China's northwest Gansu province on August 16, 2016

    One Giant (Quantum) Leap as China Launches 'Hack-Proof' Satellite

    © AFP 2019 /
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    Once upon a time in China, scientific discoveries and tech inventions were celebrated, and to this day are still revered for their historical significance and as symbols of ancient China's advanced innovation in these areas.

    What is referred to in chinese culture as the "Four Great Inventions" that had a significant impact on the development of civilisation throughout the world are inventions such as the compass, gunpowder, paper-making and printing.  

     Over the last decade there has been a steady revival in both science and tech innovation in China again, mainly as a result of the rise in economic developments, and now it is said to have put in place one of the world's largest army of scientists and engineers to reclaim the same glory days of history.

    ​Something that could certainly make (quantum) leaps in innovation has been announced this week as China launched the world's first quantum 'hack-proof' satellite. It is said to help it establish "hack-proof" communications between space and the ground, and one of the latest advances in it's ambitious wider space programme.

    The overall program is a priority as Xi Jinping, the president, has urged China to establish itself as a space power, and apart from its civilian ambitions, it has also tested anti-satellite missiles.

    ​The Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) satellite, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Ga  nsu in the early hours of Tuesday this week, as reported by China's state media. 

    "In its two-year mission, QUESS is designed to establish 'hack-proof' quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground," it was reported. 

    "Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated… It is hence impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it," media reports added.

    Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gansu province
    © AFP 2019 /
    Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gansu province

    The satellite is said to enable secure communications between Beijing and Urumqi, according to media reports referring to the capital of China's violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang, where the government says it is battling an Islamist insurgency.

    It was eight years ago that quantum physicist Pan Jianwei and space engineer Wang Jianyu teamed up to build this world's first quantum satellite in the hope of finding the portal to a whole new universe.

    ​"The newly-launched satellite marks a transition in China's role — from a follower in classic information technology development to one of the leaders guiding future achievements," Pan Jianwei, the project's chief scientist, told national press in China. 

    Talking to Chinese press, Wang Jianyu, fellow physicist on the project also added:

    "The QUESS missions are something never attempted by other nations. China has been trailing the footsteps of others for more than a century and QUESS is a tiny step, but it is a step for the entire human race," he said.

    Quantum communications is said to hold "enormous prospects" in many areas of tech development, including in the field of defence. 

    China insists its space programme is for peaceful purposes, but the US Defense Department has highlighted its own increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in any crisis.

    The quantum satellite for the first time may also prove that quantum communication on a worldwide scale can be possible as has been studied and debated by physicists worldwide.

    ​So we will watch this "space" for further leaps in Quantum Science such as the possibility of worldwide Quantum Internet networks also becoming an ever-closer reality one day.


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    quantum, communications, satellite, hacking, technology, science, space, China, Asia
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