Modelling of satellite constellations for trusted node QKD networks

Tom Vergoossen*, Sergio Loarte, Robert Bedington, Hans Kuiper, Alexander Ling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


Quantum key distribution from satellites becomes particularly valuable when it can be used on a large network and on-demand to provide a symmetric encryption key to any two nodes. A constellation model is described which enables QKD-derived encryption keys to be established between any two ground stations with low latency. This is achieved through the use of low earth orbit trusted-node QKD satellites which create a buffer of keys with the ground stations they pass over, and geostationary relay satellites to transfer secure combinations of the keys to the ground stations. Regional and global network models are considered and the use of inter-satellite QKD links for balancing keys is assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalActa Astronautica
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • BB84
  • Constellations
  • Inter-satellite link
  • LEO
  • QKD
  • Quantum cryptography
  • Satellites
  • Trusted node


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