🇫🇮 Aurora Signs Deal to Deliver a Plasma Brake to SpeQtral’s Quantum Key Distribution satellite

January 23, 2024

Press release 20.12.2023

Aurora Signs Deal to Deliver a Plasma Brake to SpeQtral’s Quantum Key Distribution satellite 

Aurora Propulsion Technologies signs a deal with SpeQtral to enable compliancy and sustainable deorbiting of the satellite at the end of its mission. 

Espoo, Finland. December 20, 2023 – Aurora Propulsion Technologies, a leading Finnish space propulsion systems company, together with SpeQtral, a  leading quantum communications technology company, announce the signing of a deal to deliver a Plasma Brake to SpeQtrals next satellite.   

The Plasma Brake is a deorbiting system that disposes of the satellite by safely bringing it back into the atmosphere after its mission is finished. This CubeSat “TunaCan” Plasma Brake is designed to be a plug-and play solutions for any CubeSats that have no space for a large thruster system but does include a free TunaCan slot that can be used by a Plasma Brake, allowing compliance with space debris mitigation regulation. Perttu Yli-Opas, the CEO of Aurora Propulsion Technologies comments this deal, “This mission is a great example of a business-oriented satellite that simply must have a deorbiting solution with a minimal footprint – which we’re more than happy to provide.”  The Plasma Brake works by deploying a charged microtether that interacts with the Low Earth Orbit plasma environment, creating a drag force. This allows it to generate a small amount of thrust continuously and indefinitely, also on higher orbits up to 1000 km where aerodynamic drag is not an option. 

Image courtesy of Kongsberg NanoAvionics 

SpeQtral-1 mission description  

The SpeQtral-1 mission will be SpeQtral’s second quantum key distribution (QKD) satellite, serving as a pathfinder commercial demonstrator and defining future QKD services. The mission follows the SpeQtre technology demonstrator mission, itself built on technologies demonstrated on the 2019 SpooQy-1 CubeSat. The SpeQtral-1 satellite is one of the first in the world to contain both BB84 and BBM92 quantum payloads in a CubeSat form factor. Operating at an altitude of 500kms in a Sun-Synchronous Orbit, SpeQtral-1 can provide quantum keys to any location on Earth. The BBM92 payload offers unparalleled security, and the BB84 payload offers higher key rates allowing seamless integration with fibre QKD networks around the globe. SpeQtral-1 brings cutting-edge quantum communication technologies, enabling partners and customers to securely transmit their data with highest levels of encryption. 


Aurora Propulsion Technologies Contact: 

Perttu Yli-Opas | [email protected] 


Company images and video content: 



About Aurora Propulsion Technologies 

Aurora Propulsion Technologies’ mission is to ensure sustainable use of space, whilst prolonging the useful lifespan of satellites. Our technologies enable effective and prompt implementation of satellite position and orientation to ensure successful execution and growth for the owners’ business as well as the safe and reliable deorbiting of satellites at the end of their useful life. The long-term mission goal is deep space exploration with microsatellite-sized probes using a revolutionary means of propulsion, an electric sail. Visit Aurora Propulsion Technologies at www.aurorapt.fi 


About SpeQtral 

SpeQtral is a pioneer in quantum communications, with a vision to build and deploy global quantum networks. SpeQtral develops quantum-secure products and services designed to protect sovereign and enterprise telecommunication networks against classical, as well as future quantum based cyber-attacks. Combining both terrestrial and space-based solutions, SpeQtral aims to secure the world’s networks against the threats posed by the imminent quantum revolution and drive innovation in quantum communications that will serve as the building blocks for the future quantum internet. For more information, please visit: www.speqtralquantum.com 


About Kongsberg NanoAvionics 

Kongsberg NanoAvionics is reshaping the space economy with our standardized small satellite platforms. We offer efficient, cost-effective satellite products and services that help organizations launch their space missions swiftly. Since 2014, over 120 projects in 50 countries have trusted us for our experience, technology and higher return on their satellite investment. 

We’re a globally local team of close to 300 international professionals with dedicated facilities in Lithuania, the United States, and the United Kingdom. As part of Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace since 2022, we’re further strengthening our commitment to robust, innovative, secure and reliable space solutions. 

NanoAvionics is proudly accelerating the pace of space-based connectivity or remote sensing, one satellite constellation at a time. 

For more information, please visit: nanoavionics.com 

Originally published on 20 January by Aurora.

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