NASA Selects Surrey Satellite US for Deep Space Atomic Clock Payload
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has selected Colorado-based Surrey Satellite Technology US (SST-US) for the flight of the Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) payload under the sponsorship of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). Under the agreement, SST-US will provide a hosted payload flight opportunity for the NASA DSAC payload on its upcoming OTB mission, which is scheduled for a 2015 launch. DSAC will fly on the SST-US-owned-and-operated Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite, the first spacecraft to be integrated at the new SST-US facility in Englewood, Colo.
DSAC features a miniaturized, ultra-precise mercury-ion atomic clock. In-orbit demonstration of the precision timing and navigation capabilities of the DSAC instrument is a key requirement for NASA’s pursuit of deep space exploration missions which require higher-precision data collection and autonomous radio navigation for time-critical events such as orbit insertion or landing.
“Since our establishment in the U.S. in 2008, we’ve been aware of a number of developed, shelved, or orphaned payloads looking for flight opportunities, and therefore initiated the OTB concept to make available payload capacity to accommodate these third-party payloads,” said SST-US CEO John Paffett in a statement.