Quantum Technologies

Quantum Technologies and innovative concepts for quantum information processing have been subject of ESA research activities since 2002. These activities and their fast-evolving technical capabilities have prepared the ground for an ambitious new technology R&D initiative

The Quantum Technology Cross Cutting Initiative (QT-CCI) will coordinate the future ESA quantum technology activities with a large ESA-wide consultative process, and with a very close coordination with the needs of Industry, Research and Science. The implementation will later be executed in the most appropriate ESA programmes. This initiative will bridge different programmes, technical disciplines and technology levels, encouraging external partnerships.


Identify and support strategic interests of ESA member states, industry and academia

Boost activities to raise technology readiness levels (TRL), and enable in-orbit validation/demonstration (IOV/IOD) as well as applications for quantum technologies

Provide increased visibility on quantum activities at ESA through a dedicated technology roadmap

 Stimulate ESA internal and external collaborations

The European Commission (EC) and many European countries have announced large investments towards the commercialisation of quantum technologies, primarily for communication and computing. The most publicised application of quantum technology is quantum computing. Agenda 2025 highlights quantum computing as key for translating big data into smart information and services.   

Breakthroughs in Quantum Technologies will also enable a new generation of sensors and clocks of unprecedented accuracy and are estimated to significantly affect future space systems:

Optical clocks are exceeding today’s time standard and available atomic clocks with optical time and frequency links enabling long distance networks of clocks

Atom interferometers for precise gravity measurements are significantly improving the systems used for Earth observation, planetary science and fundamental physics

Quantum communication will enable new applications to connect quantum sensors or quantum computers

Cyberattacks supported by hostile quantum computers will be countered by implementing a new generation of cryptographic algorithms (post quantum cryptography)

Quantum Technology Cross Cutting Initiative (QT-CCI) Process – A joint vision and plan for Quantum

The QT-CCI will coordinate the content of future ESA quantum technology Activities

- Very close coordination with the needs of Industry, Research and Science

- 50 ESA colleagues involved in providing input to the White Paper

- Implementation will later be executed in the most suitable ESA programmes