news & Things

NASA Implementing Microsoft’s Azure Quantum Research Into Rocket Ships

31st Jan 2022

NASA have been putting tech inspired by the research of Microsoft’ Azure Quantum into spacecraft communications.


The team behind it is looking for ways to optimise communication with missions via the Deep Space Network (DSN) – a finite resource which will benefit from scalable quantum computing.

What is the DSN?

It’s a network comprised of large radio antennas spread around the Earth and is used to maintain contact with spacecraft as distant as the Voyagers as well as the James Webb Space Telescope.

Anyone who has had to organise a large group that covers a large, disparate area will understand the problem this causes: the problem of scheduling. All the missions need to communicate, and this results in an influx of “several hundred weekly requests when each spacecraft is visible to the antenna”, according to Microsoft.


“Quantum computers can naturally represent random distributions as quantum states, and therefore have the potential to provide better solutions than today’s classical optimisation algorithms.”



As for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), it took a run time of two-hours to produce a schedule when the Microsoft team first started. Azure Quantum took that time down to just 16 minutes, and then a custom solution brought the time down even further, to around 2 minutes. This is resulting in more agile mission planning since JPL can now schedule for multiple candidates at a time.

For now, Azure Quantum remains in preview, and scalable quantum computing remains on the outskirts of being fully realised, but it’s awesome to see that the results of the research are being put into real-world use.

More news & Things

More news & Things

Chloe Smith in NonProfit

Initiatives Underway to Improve Diversity In Environmental Workforce In The UK

Steps are being taken in the UK’s sustainability and environment professions to address the lack of diversity, as it stands less than 5% of professionals in organisations within the sector identify as being from minority ethnic backgrounds. The steps involve a data drive, asking the UK’s environmental NGOs and charities to annually report on the […]

Chloe Smith in Health Sector

Billions To Be Raised By Health And Social Care Levy, Massive Reforms To Adult Social Care Underway

COVID backlogs and reforms to adult social care underway with the Health and Social Levy implemented to raise billions. The Health and Social Care Levy has commenced from Wednesday 6th April in order to raise the billions needed for the COVID backlog, as well fund reforms to routine services. In total, £39billion will be implemented […]


NATO Identifies Emerging And Disruptive Technologies – UK To Headquarter The Defence Innovation Hub

NATO to implement the DIANA programme to maintain technological advantage: UK and Estonia to partner on the programme. Critical technologies will be seeing transatlantic cooperation, as the UK is set to be the host of the European HQ of the Defence Innovation Accelerator (DIANA), a programme set for NATO allies to accelerate, test, evaluate and […]

Chloe Smith in Transport

New Bus Scheme Set To Increase Public Transport Use by 10%

20% to 40% ticket price reduction on Cornish buses backed by £23.5m government grant A pilot of cut-fare prices has begun in Cornwall, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy cheaper prices around the far south-west of England. The county has benefitted from a ticket price reduction of between 20% and 40% to incentivise more people […]

Chloe Smith in NonProfit

Legal Proceedings Issued After National Lottery Licence Announcement

For the first time since The National Lottery started, Camelot will not be Preferred Applicant for the National Lottery licence.   A legal battle has been issued by National Lottery operator, Camelot, against the Gambling Commission after it was revealed that Allwyn Entertainment UK was its Preferred Applicant for the fourth National Lottery licence – […]

Chloe Smith in Tech

What Is Colocation And Why Are Datacentres Being Built On Sewage Plants?

Datacentres could be made more environmentally friendly if collocated with sewage treatment plants, suggests Tomorrow Water.   The idea is that heated water from a datacentre can be used to boost wastewater processing, and some of the treated water can then become the cooling water for the datacentre. The arrangement cuts the energy process required […]