A GPS Spacecraft Atomic Clock Flight Simulation and Test Station

H. Wang, G.H. Iyanu, and J.C. Camparo

Abstract: In order to help satellite operators and system engineers understand and resolve flight clock issues, we have built a GPS atomic flight-clock simulation and test station in The Aerospace Corporation’s Physical Sciences Laboratories (PSL). Our test station currently has one GPS-IIF flight rubidium frequency standard (RFS) sitting on a chiller-controlled thermal baseplate, and housed in a vacuum chamber. With this testbed we can simulate normal and extreme space flight environments, and collect all telemetry outputs from the RFS, including those related to clock health. Additionally, we can measure the output frequency of the GPS atomic clock, and estimate the clock’s performance. As reported in our previous works, such a laboratory-based atomic flight-clock simulation and test station has proven to be very useful in helping better understand the satellite clock’s operational characteristics and in investigating on-orbit constellation timekeeping issues. In this paper we will describe our recently built GPS flight clock simulation and test station and the measurement methods, and present examples of the experimental results obtained using the test station to study the GPS RFS clock’s frequency characteristics and the clock’s intrinsic temperature coefficients under simulated space operational conditions.
Published in: Proceedings of the 48th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
January 30 - 2, 2017
Hyatt Regency Monterey
Monterey, California
Pages: 183 - 191
Cite this article: Wang, H., Iyanu, G.H., Camparo, J.C., "A GPS Spacecraft Atomic Clock Flight Simulation and Test Station," Proceedings of the 48th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, Monterey, California, January 2017, pp. 183-191. https://doi.org/10.33012/2017.14987
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