Deep Space Atomic Clock (NASA's Technology Demonstration Missions)

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Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC)

"The most advanced nations are always those who navigate the most."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th-century American poet

Precise radio navigation -- using radio frequencies to determine position -- is vital to the success of a range of deep-space exploration missions. The Deep Space Atomic Clock project, or DSAC, will fly and validate a miniaturized, ultra-precise mercury-ion atomic clock that is orders of magnitude more stable than today’s best navigation clocks.

The DSAC project is sponsored by the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The DSAC project currently is building a demonstration unit and payload to be hosted on a spacecraft provided by Surrey Satellite Technologies U.S. of Englewood, Colo. It will launch to Earth orbit mid 2016, where the payload will be operated for at least a year to demonstrate its functionality and utility for one-way-based navigation.

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Page Last Updated: May 21st, 2015
Page Editor: Brooke Boen