ArQit: The World’s first global quantum key distribution network.

Our online future is under threat.

The internet has changed so much of our human activity for the better. But its very existence is now threatened by quantum attack.

The emergence of quantum computing means that the encryption techniques used by the Internet will be hacked. There are a variety of solutions to this problem emerging. The ArQit system offers a significant contribution to keep the Internet safe.

By injecting quantum safe keys into the major peering points at the heart of the Internet, we can keep the control planes of the World’s network safe. Large corporations can keep their cloud applications safe. And one day, we will be able to get quantum keys to households and even mobile phones, through R&D we are conducting to create an interface between satellite and metro fibre networks.

The ArQit project brings together three powerful technology innovations:

Advances in small satellite technology means that it is now possible to launch and fly robust, fully-stabilised, secure satellite platform constellations in low earth orbit at low cost.

Advances in optical technology means that accurate and powerful instruments can be used in space and on ground to transmit and detect photons to the required level of accuracy.

Our innovation in creating quantum generation devices brings commercial communications into the quantum realm for the first time.

The Encryption Process for Beginners

There are 2 elements to the encryption process: The algorithm (lock box) and the key

Alice puts her data in the lock box

Alice puts the key in the lock and turns it to encrypt the data

Alice sends the encrypted data to Bob over the internet

Bob has a copy of the key.

Bob uses the key to unlock the lock box and unscramble the data

The keys that the World uses today are mainly the Public Private Key system. This form of key distribution will get hacked by Quantum Computers, which are around the corner.

ArQit is fixing the key problem by using Quantum Key Distribution. This uses the quantum properties of photons to create unique keys that can be shared between two parties in laser transmissions from a satellite. This is unhackable, but the world also needs to improve the lockbox. Many people, helpfully, are working on new algorithms, but no algorithm can ever be provably secure, a description that we CAN apply to QKD.

Our Partners

ArQit is partnering with major institutions to protect our future together. The companies partnering to create the quantum satellite network include:

Qinetiq Plc - The Prime Contractor for construction of spacecraft

BT Plc - the partner helping to define the customer requirements

QT Labs - a spin out from Academy of Sciences Austria, led by Dr Rupert Ursin

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF The pre-eminent German not for profit academic research and development institute specialising in quantum optical engineering

The European Space Agency - Europe's premier space science research organisation

The Team

The Arqit Team is extremely experienced in all of the necessary domains.

David Williams


Former CEO of Avanti, a $1bn space start up. UK Growth Company Entrepreneur of the Year 2008.

David Bestwick


Astrophysicist, winner of the Arthur C Clarke Prize, and architect of ArQit QKD system

Dr Lee Boland

R&D Director, ArQit

Space engineer, former Head of R&D Surrey Satellites

Jack Blockley


Cyber Security Entrepreneur, Launched Trusteer in Europe and sold to IBM

Andrew Yeomans


Former Head of Security Engineering, Commerzbank and Lead Application Security Architect, Lloyds Bank.

Prof Rupert Ursin

Chief Quantum Scientist

Assistant Professor of Quantum Optics, Academy of Sciences Vienna. Globally acknowledged expert in Free Space Quantum Key Distribution.

Dr Thomas Scheidl

Quantum Scientist

Thomas Scheidl has been working in the field of free-space quantum communication under real-world conditions for 13 years and has been responsible for a number of ESA projects.

Dr. Fabian Steinlechner

Quantum Scientist

Fabian Steinlechner is an expert in quantum communications and one of the world leaders in the development of ultra-bright and high-quality entangled photon sources.

Dr Thomas Herbst

Quantum Scientist

Thomas Herbst is an expert in quantum communication and free-space optical communication.

The ArQit advisers

Dr D Williams


Executive Director, CSIRO. Formerly Director of EUMETSAT

Katherine Courtney


Former CEO UK Space Agency

Stephen Chandler


Managing Partner, Notion Capital

James Bruegger


Managing Partner, Seraphim Space Ventures