European Plans for New Clocks in Space

Sigfridu Leschiutta, Patrizia Tavella

Abstract: An outline of the future European space research program where precise clocks are necessary is presented, pointing out how space applications are posing impressive requirements as regards clock mass, power, ruggedness, long life, accuracy and, in some cases, spectral purity. The material presented was gathered in some laboratories; useful information were obtained from the Space Agencies of France (CNES), Germany (DARA) and Italy (ASI), but the bulk is coming from a recent exercise promoted inside ESA (the European Space Agency) and aimed to prefigure space research activities at the beginning of the next millennium. This exercise was called Horizon 2000 plus; the outcomings were summarised in two reports, presented by ESA in may 1994. Precise clacks and time measurements are needed not only for deep-space or out-ward space missions, but are essential tools also for Earth oriented activities. In this latter field, the European views and needs were discussed in October 1994, in a meeting organized by ESA and devoted to Earth Observation problems. By a scrutiny of these reports, an analysis was performed on the missions requiring a precise clock on board and the driving requirements were pointed out, leading to a survey of the necessary PTTI developments that to same extent are in the realm of possibility but that pose serious challenges. In this report the use of frequency standards in the satellite navigation systems is not considered.
Published in: Proceedings of the 26th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
December 6 - 8, 1994
Hyatt Regency Reston Town Center
Reston, Virginia
Pages: 101 - 110
Cite this article: Leschiutta, Sigfridu, Tavella, Patrizia, "European Plans for New Clocks in Space," Proceedings of the 26th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, Reston, Virginia, December 1994, pp. 101-110.
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