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Mailloux, L. O., Sargeant, B. N., Hodson, D. D., Grimaila, M. R..  2017.  System-level considerations for modeling space-based quantum key distribution architectures. 2017 Annual IEEE International Systems Conference (SysCon). :1–6.

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a revolutionary technology which leverages the laws of quantum mechanics to distribute cryptographic keying material between two parties with theoretically unconditional security. Terrestrial QKD systems are limited to distances of \textbackslashtextless;200 km in both optical fiber and line-of-sight free-space configurations due to severe losses during single photon propagation and the curvature of the Earth. Thus, the feasibility of fielding a low Earth orbit (LEO) QKD satellite to overcome this limitation is being explored. Moreover, in August 2016, the Chinese Academy of Sciences successfully launched the world's first QKD satellite. However, many of the practical engineering performance and security tradeoffs associated with space-based QKD are not well understood for global secure key distribution. This paper presents several system-level considerations for modeling and studying space-based QKD architectures and systems. More specifically, this paper explores the behaviors and requirements that researchers must examine to develop a model for studying the effectiveness of QKD between LEO satellites and ground stations.