China successfully launched the world's first quantum communications satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Gansu province on Aug. 16, 2016. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)
8. Quantum communications satellite QUESS
China successfully launched the world's first quantum communications satellite, Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gobi Desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, on Aug. 16, 2016.
The 600-plus-kilogram satellite will circle Earth once every 90 minutes after it enters a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers. It is nicknamed "Micius," after a fifth century B.C. Chinese philosopher and scientist who was credited with being the first person in human history to conduct optical experiments.
During its two-year mission, QUESS is designed to establish "hack-proof" quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground, and to provide insights into the strangest phenomenon in quantum physics -- quantum entanglement.