QUESS lead scientist Pan Jianwei told Reuters that the project has "enormous prospects" in the defence sphere. The satellite will provide secure communications between Beijing and Ürümqi, capital of Xinjiang, the remote western region of China. The US Department of Defense believes China is aiming to achieve the capability to counter the use of enemy space technology. Paramount leader Xi Jinping has prioritised China's space program, which has included anti-satellite missile tests, and the New York Times noted that quantum technology was a focus of the thirteenth five-year plan, which the China government set out earlier that year. The Wall Street Journal said that the launch put China ahead of rivals, and brought them closer to "hack-proof communications". Several outlets identified Edward Snowden's leak of US surveillance documents as an impetus for the development of QUESS, with Popular Science calling it "a satellite for the post-Snowden age".
China is funding the project as a focus of the thirteenth five-year plan because QUESS provides the state with hack-proof communications. This project is also supported by the University of Vienna where Pan Jianwei was educated. I don't know what happened to the export ban on dual-use goods, or products that have both civilian and military use.
Long-distance entanglement distribution is essential for both foundational tests of quantum physics and scalable quantum networks. Owing to channel loss, however, the previously achieved distance was limited to ~100 kilometers. Here we demonstrate satellite-based distribution of entangled photon pairs to two locations separated by 1203 kilometers on Earth, through two satellite-to-ground downlinks with a summed length varying from 1600 to 2400 kilometers. We observed a survival of two-photon entanglement and a violation of Bell inequality by 2.37 ± 0.09 under strict Einstein locality conditions. The obtained effective link efficiency is orders of magnitude higher than that of the direct bidirectional transmission of the two photons through telecommunication fibers.
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