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Rhea Space Activity Demonstrates Secure Quantum Communication with U.S. Special Operations Command in Norway

RSA’s quantum technology provides the most secure transmission of classified data possible.


WASHINGTON, June 21, 2024—Recently, Rhea Space Activity, Inc. (RSA) and Liberty Alliance, LLC. conducted a ground-to-ground quantum communication test during a technical demonstration in partnership with U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Norwegian Special Operations Command (NORSOCOM), and the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI) in Norway. The demonstration completes the first phase in the development of RSA’s space-to-ground quantum communication capability, the Quantum Lovelace Augmentation Kit (QLOAK). 


Rhea Space Activity, Inc. and Liberty Alliance, LLC. successfully conduct a ground-to-ground quantum communication test during a technical demonstration in partnership with U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Norwegian Special Operations Command (NORSOCOM), and the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI) in Norway on October 26, 2023.

 

QLOAK is a quantum laser communication capability that will use a receiver on the ground and a transmitter in space to share information using quantum key distribution (QKD) technology, ensuring secure encryption of sensitive information. QKD provides the means to secure highly sensitive, classified information to special operators across the globe and is critical for the U.S. to maintain strategic superiority. RSA’s quantum engineers worked collaboratively to field a QLOAK prototype system on the roof of a Twisted T110.

 

“Traditional communication capabilities often use radio signals or lasers which can be unknowingly intercepted,” said Shawn Usman, astrophysicist and CEO of RSA. “Not only is quantum key distribution the most secure way to transmit information, but it provides an additional level of security to 100% ensure adversaries cannot access classified information during transmission from space-to-ground.”

 

“The ability to securely receive classified information in the field will be an imperative for our warfighters in future conflicts,” said a Liberty Alliance spokesperson. “The successful ground-to-ground quantum communication demonstration in Norway is one of the first steps in providing operators enhanced, real-time decision-making capabilities in the field while protecting operational security.”

 

“When RSA quantum engineers reached out to me about this audacious space-to-ground quantum communications experiment I was thrilled,” said Charles Fawcett, Founder, Twisted Automotive. “The Land Rover Defender is an iconic military tactical vehicle that has been used by British Armed forces for decades. I was honored to work with RSA to equip our T110 for next generation AUKUS communications in contested and austere environments.”

 

Investments in quantum technology like QLOAK are critical to ensuring the U.S. keeps pace with its peer competitors.

 

“China successfully demonstrated a space-to-ground quantum capability in 2016 and the Chinese advantage in quantum technology is positioned to dramatically increase over time unless the U.S. military makes investments in quantum technology missions led by commercial industry,” said Usman. “The ability to communicate securely using next-generation information dissemination techniques is critical for the U.S. to maintain strategic superiority.”

 

QLOAK has additional global advantages, benefitting FIVE EYES objectives and aligning with the trilateral security alliance, AUKUS. Pillar 2 of AUKUS focuses on advanced capabilities including quantum technology.

 

“AUKUS emphasizes the importance of quantum technology, underscoring the pivotal role QLOAK plays in shaping the future of security and defense on a global scale,” said Usman.

 

However, the benefits of QLOAK span well beyond defense, offering a solution for commercial institutions also looking to transmit data more securely.

 

“With advancements like QLOAK, we're not just ensuring the security of nations, but also empowering businesses to operate confidently in an increasingly interconnected world,” said Kevin Hause, Chief of Strategy, RSA. “Whether it’s protecting sensitive financial transactions or safeguarding proprietary information, the demand for robust encryption and secure data transmission is universal.”

 

RSA and Liberty Alliance’s quantum communications demonstration took place on October 26, 2023, in Norway at a technical demonstration event held by USSOCOM, NORSOCOM and FFI. RSA is currently working to secure funding for the next technology demonstration to ensure the U.S. and its allies keep pace with Chinese quantum advancements.

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