Chief scientist confident in success of world's first quantum satellite

2016-08-16 07:17:20 | From:

The world's first quantum satellite has been successfully launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.

The satellite will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes after it enters a sun-synchronous orbit.

It's designed to transmit unhackable communications, as the quantum technology goes well-beyond conventional communications technology.

Pan Jianwei, chief scientist behind the quantum communication satellite, says the new satellite also has much wider coverage.

"The quantum satellite's biggest difference is that all previous satellites just work in the space and send data to the ground. But for this satellite, we'll have a much larger experimental area. The orbit is 500 kilometers high above the ground and the two points on the ground are around 1,200 km far away from each other. So the size of the lab is 500 km times 1,200 km, which is as large as 600,000 square km."

The satellite is nicknamed "Micius" after the 5th century BCE Chinese philosopher and scientist who is credited for being the first human to try to understand and experiment with optics.

Beyond allowing for unhackable communications, the satellite is also designed to help scientists better understand quantum physics.

Chinese scientists are cautioning the new technology is still around 15-years away from being used commercially.

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