Canadian Space Agency awards IQC $1.5M for encryption mission

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Night sky with red laser

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is awarding $1.5 million to the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) to lead the science of a mission called the Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat), which will protect the communications and data of Canadians on Earth and in space.

It is estimated that within 10 to 20 years, the encryption codes used by computers today will be easily decoded by high-performing quantum computers, making current encryption technology obsolete.

“The development of revolutionary technologies like quantum encryption will provide Canadians with security, safety, reliable government services and protection of their privacy. This investment enables the University of Waterloo to advance Canada’s technological and scientific advantage in quantum technologies. It creates new opportunities to develop a highly qualified workforce in Canada and opens new markets and commercial opportunities around the world,” said The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

This investment will advance encryption methods, which use highly advanced computing technology to create unbreakable security codes.

It will enable the CSA to leverage IQC’s expertise to enhance Canada’s position as a world leader in the emerging market for quantum technology. It will contribute to developing the highly qualified workforce needed in this important sector, and position Canada’s space sector to play a critical role in the upcoming quantum technology revolution—a significant global business opportunity.

“Once again, the University of Waterloo is demonstrating its impressive leadership in developing innovative new ideas and technologies. As our economy becomes more globally connected, and more trade is done online, protecting Canadians’ digital information has become vitally important. Thanks to today’s investment, we are building on Canadian strengths to support the development of new encryption technologies that will keep digital information safe, while also creating new, well-paying jobs in the Waterloo region," said The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism.

This initiative aligns with the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan.

Read the full press release issued by the Canadian Space Agency.