Space-Segment Timekeeping for Next Generation Milsatcom

Y.C. Chan, J.C. Camparo, R.P. Frueholz

Abstract: Though the level of precise timekeeping for military satellite communications (milsatcom) applications may not be as stringent as that required for satellite navigation, milsatcom poses its own unique timekeeping problems. For example, milsatcom timekeeping must be precise without putting an undue burden on a ground station? workload. Further, milsatcom timekeeping must be robust, with the ability to autonomously detect and correct timekeeping problems during protracted periods when the ground control station is either unavailable or burdened with other pressing tasks. Here, we discuss three different space-segment timekeeping systems that could be employed in milsatcom, and our numerical simulations investigating their various attributes. These systems include a Master/Slave system (similar to present day Milstar), an Ensembling system (based on NIST’s AT1 algorithm),and a Kalman-Filter system (similar to GPS when it goes to crosslink ranging). The timekeeping performance of the three systems is characterized by the median time interval between ground station updates,given a somewhat arbitrary 2-usec requirement for space-segment timekeeping. Among other effects, our simulations include: satellite temperature variations, satellite clock random noise, satellite clock frequency aging, time-transfer noise between satellites, as well as time-transfer noise between satellites and the ground station. As we will show, milsatcom timekeeping involves a complicated interplay between satellite timekeeping hardware and the space-segment timekeeping system. Judicious choice of the hardware and space-segment system can allow weeks between ground station updates of the constellation’s timekeeping.
Published in: Proceedings of the 31th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
December 7 - 9, 1999
Marriott's Laguna Cliffs Resort
Dana Point, California
Pages: 121 - 132
Cite this article: Chan, Y.C., Camparo, J.C., Frueholz, R.P., "Space-Segment Timekeeping for Next Generation Milsatcom," Proceedings of the 31th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, Dana Point, California, December 1999, pp. 121-132.
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