first quantum communications satellite developed by China is expected to
launch in July of this year. The Beijing–Shanghai quantum private
communications line will also be opened in the second half of this year,
according to Pan Jianwei, academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences,
during an interview with China Youth Daily.
According to Pan, this milestone means that a quantum communications
network will be formed, and that 30 years of research on quantum
information will be finally put to use. Pan said that quantum
communication between the satellite and the ground will be achieved for
the first time anywhere in the world.
In recent years, quantum communications is considered to be supportive
research for next-generation communication technology because of its
transmission efficiency and absolute security. Pan said that, as quantum
technology is indivisible and cannot be cloned, it may be implemented as
an information carrier for the distribution of sensitive information,
thereby guaranteeing the secure transmission of important content.
Quantum communications research has become a focus and frontier of
global research in physics.
China started developing its quantum satellite in 2011, and launched the
quantum optical fiber communication network project, the
Beijing–Shanghai line, in 2013. The Beijing–Shanghai quantum private
communications line will cover a total length of over 2,000 kilometers,
connecting a network of numerous cities including Beijing, Jinan, Hefei
and Shanghai. It will be the world’s first wide-area optic fiber quantum
According to Pan, the assembly of the quantum satellite has already been
completed. The satellite has passed electrical measurement and thermal
balance testing, and is currently undergoing mechanical and magnetic
testing in Shanghai’s Small Satellite Engineering Center.
"With further development, quantum communications should benefit
millions of households in the near future," Pan said, adding: "I hope
that within another 10 years of hard work, online transfers and payments
can be guaranteed through quantum communication for every consumer."