The EAGLE-1 contract between ESA and SES was signed on the occasion of the IAC on 22 September 2022.
The newly-announced EAGLE-1 system is a major technology breakthrough that paves the way for secure communications in the EU. Comprising a low-earth-orbit satellite and an extensive ground network, the space-based Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system will jointly provide valuable mission data for a sovereign European end-to-end solution for secure QKD services.
Under the EAGLE-1 project, the dedicated consortium of 20 European partners led by SES will develop and implement long-distance QKD. EAGLE-1 allows the validation of the key quantum secure communications systems and will also benefit the national Quantum Communications Infrastructures (QCIs) within the EuroQCI initiative.
The EAGLE-1 project is co-funded by ESA, the European Union (EU), the space agencies of Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and the Czech Republic, as well as the industry.
The EAGLE-1 satellite is due to launch in 2024, and will complete three years of in-orbit mission supported by the European Commission. It will provide the European Union governments, institutions and critical business sectors early access to long-distance QKD, pathing the way towards ultra-secure data transmissions across the EU.