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SSTL and QuantX Labs Partner to Propel Australian Quantum Clock Technology

Posted 29 September 2023

QuantX Labs has joined forces with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) through Airbus Australia, to bolster their space knowledge and skillsets, a collaboration set to propel Australian quantum technology into space.

Image courtesy Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL)

QuantX Labs, renowned for its ground-breaking work in quantum technology is poised to take quantum advancements to new heights through its KAIROS mission. This mission culminates in the launch into low Earth orbit and demonstration of a next-generation optical atomic clock , a project that promises to revolutionize space-based PNT (position, navigation and timing) capabilities. The optical atomic clock, which was initially developed at the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing at the University of Adelaide and supported by funding from the SmartSat CRC, will now undergo crucial developments to become space-ready. This evolution will be guided by the expertise of SSTL's proficient system engineering team and propelled by the Australian Space Agency's Moon to Mars Demonstrator Program.

"QuantX Labs is thrilled to announce its collaboration with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), a global leader in small satellite technology and systems engineering consulting," shared Professor Andre Luiten, Managing Director of QuantX Labs. "This collaboration adds a crucial layer of expertise to our KAIROS mission, providing confidence that we will deliver robust engineering solutions and unparalleled reliability as we venture into space."

Clive Oates, Head of SSTL, Australia said “SSTL is delighted to be collaborating with QuantX Labs, bringing our world-renowned space engineering expertise to support QuantX Labs next-generation optical atomic clock and the KARIOS mission”.

Enrico Palermo, the Head of Australian Space Agency said, “The Australian Government has identified quantum as a critical technology in the national interest.” Adding “QuantX Labs’ quantum clock technology has the potential to transform the positioning, navigation, and timing services that underpin our daily lives, and we’re proud to provide support through the Australian Government’s Demonstrator Program. By drawing on SSTL’s extensive space engineering expertise to help get its quantum clock into orbit, QuantX Labs will be able to start developing valuable space heritage.”

A noteworthy benefit of this partnership is SSTL's role as not only a provider of space systems engineering but also as a conduit to uplift the skill set of QuantX Labs engineering team, advancing not only Australia’s space technology but advancing the skills base in the space sector. QuantX Labs quantum expertise with SSTL’s deep space heritage in previous programs with European Space Agency and involvement in NASA’s GNSS program, will form the foundations required to instigate groundbreaking advancements in position, navigation, and timing services for Australia.

The culmination of this collaborative effort is slated for early 2026, when QuantX Labs will launch and demonstrate its precision timing technology in low Earth orbit. A rigorous journey of testing and preliminary launches is planned over the coming years to validate the reliability and performance of the innovative quantum technologies in the space environment.

The partnership between QuantX Labs and SSTL unites quantum expertise with space engineering excellence. With its dual role as a driver of space systems engineering and an enabler of broader skills uplift, SSTL is shaping not only the future of space technology but also the capabilities of the Australian workforce that powers it.
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