No ordinary clock: NASA's atomic clock is next step in space navigation

NASA officials said the clock will operate for a year in space. They added that in the near-future, the technology will also be used to make gravitational measurements, reports Nandika Chand for International Business Times.

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LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif., - NASA’s atomic clock, ready to be launched aboard a SpaceX Heavy Falcon rocket into space on June 22, is no ordinary clock. It is also the first-of-its-kind atomic clock designed to fly onboard a spacecraft that goes beyond Earth’s orbit. NASA officials said the clock, about the size of a toaster-oven, will operate for a year in space. They added that in the near-future, the technology will also be used to make gravitational measurements, reports Nandika Chand for International Business Times. Continue reading original article

The Intelligent Aerospace take:

June 7, 2019-NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says its atomic clock will be able to allow spacecraft to pinpoint its exact location much like your cell phone's GPS can place your location on Earth. It's a tougher nut to crack in space, however, because there is no globe on which to triangulate the spacecraft. With a deep space atomic clock onboard a spacecraft, a signal from Earth would provide incredibly precise navigation and tests show that NASA's JPL atomic clock is more than 50 times more stable than the atomic clocks onboard current GPS satellites.

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Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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