Tel Aviv University launches new nanosatellite, another step towards demonstrating quantum communication from space

Launched to an altitude of 550 km, the TAU-SAT3 is expected to orbit for five years and carry out several scientific tasks

The Satellite Team (Clockwise): Orly Blumberg, Prof. Ofer Amrani, Prof. Meir Ariel, Dr. Dolev Bashi  & Idan Finkelstein. Photo credit: Tel Aviv University.


A new technological achievement for Tel Aviv University: in less than two years TAU launched three nanosatellites into space. The third, TAU-SAT3, was launched yesterday on SpaceX's launch vehicle Falcon 9, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. According to the researchers, TAU-SAT3, developed at the Center for Nanosatellites of TAU's Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, represents a scientific breakthrough, paving the way toward demonstration of optical and quantum communication from space via nanosatellites.

The researchers: "TAU leads Israel's effort to create satellite communication channels based on optical and quantum technologies. To implement long-distance quantum communication over hundreds of kilometers or more we need to go into space. TAU-SAT3 is designed to pave the way toward demonstrating quantum communication via a quantum nanosatellite, to be built in the future at TAU."

Prof. Meir Ariel, Head of TAU's Center for Nanosatellites: "TAU's first two nanosatellites were designed to measure cosmic radiation around the Earth and test various means for protecting the electronic systems installed on satellites from this radiation. To this end, the nanosatellites carried special payloads built in collaboration with various scientific institutions, including the SOREQ Nuclear Research Center. The third satellite, TAU-SAT3, was the first to be fully designed, developed, and built at TAU.”

Dean of the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Noam Eliaz, explained that the nanosatellite was launched to an altitude of 550 km. It is expected to orbit the earth for about five years and carry out several scientific tasks. It carries on board for the first-time batteries made by the Israeli company Epsilor, that will provide it with energy for its entire life in orbit.  Its main mission will be to communicate with the new optical ground station set up on the roof of the Shenkar Physics Building on the TAU campus.

This is the first optical ground station in Israel, and one of very few worldwide, that can lock onto, track, and collect data from a nanosatellite which, viewed from Earth, is smaller than a single pixel.

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