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SSTL and QuantX Labs partner to enhance Australian quantum clock technology

University of Adelaide spin-off QuantX Labs has joined forces with UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), through Airbus Australia, to launch Australian quantum technology into space in 2026.

QuantX Labs, known for its ground-breaking work in quantum technology, has established its KAIROS mission. This will see the launch into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and demonstration of a next-generation optical atomic clock, which could revolutionize space-based Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) capabilities.

The optical atomic clock was initially developed at the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing at the University of Adelaide and supported by funding from the SmartSat CRC. It will now undergo development to become space-ready. This evolution will be guided by the expertise of SSTL’s Guildford-based systems engineering team and propelled by the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Demonstrator Program.

“This collaboration [with SSTL] 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,” said Professor Andre Luiten, Managing Director of QuantX Labs.

Enrico Palermo, the Head of the Australian Space Agency said, “The Australian Government has identified quantum as a critical technology in the national interest. 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.”

SSTL’s role as a provider of space systems engineering makes it also 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 its space sector.

QuantX Labs quantum expertise with SSTL’s deep space heritage in previous programs with the European Space Agency and involvement in NASA’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) program, will form the foundations required to instigate groundbreaking advancements in PNT services for Australia.

QuantX Labs expects it will launch and demonstrate its precision timing technology in LEO in 2026.

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