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Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC)

Occurred 3 years ago

Atomic clocks, like those used in GPS satellites, are used to measure the distance between objects by timing how long it takes a signal to travel from Point A to Point B. For space exploration, atomic clocks must be extremely precise

Mission Type

Technology Demonstration


General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems


June 25, 2019



Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) Overview

Launched in June 2019, NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock is a critical step toward enabling spacecraft to safely navigate independently in deep space rather than rely on the time-consuming process of waiting to receive directions from Earth.

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This illustration shows NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock technology demonstration and the General Atomics Orbital Test Bed spacecraft that hosts it.
Atomic Clock illustration

Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) News

Deep Space Atomic Clock Moves Toward Increased Spacecraft Autonomy
5 min read

Designed to improve navigation for robotic explorers and the operation of GPS satellites, the technology demonstration reports a significant milestone.…

NASA Selects 2 Missions to Study ‘Lost Habitable’ World of Venus
5 min read

NASA has selected two new missions to Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor. Part of NASA’s Discovery Program, the missions aim…

News Release
NASA Extends Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission
5 min read

As the time when NASA will begin sending humans back to the Moon draws closer, crewed trips to Mars are…

NASA Activates Deep Space Atomic Clock
3 min read

An atomic clock that could pave the way for autonomous deep space travel was successfully activated last week and is…

NASA Technology Missions Launch on SpaceX Falcon Heavy
6 min read

NASA technology demonstrations, which one day could help the agency get astronauts to Mars, and science missions, which will look…

News Release
New NASA-JPL Technology Launches on SpaceX Falcon Heavy
6 min read

Updated at 11:50 PDT (2:50 p.m. EDT) on June 24: The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched at 11:30 p.m. PDT…