Development and Performance of a Digital Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard (DRAFS) as a Next-Generation Space Clock

Christopher Varuolo, Igor Shtaerman, Daniel J. Clark, Jason Napodano, Paul Skibiel, Nicholas Aji, Thomas McClelland

Abstract: As increasing reliance on space-borne atomic clocks for position, navigation, and timing manifests, emphasis on pursuing higher performance clocks with robustness and longevity is tantamount. In this vein, key aspects for any space-borne atomic clock not only include excellent frequency stability, but must also be robust enough to survive the harsh environment of space. In this presentation, Frequency Electronics, Inc. (FEI) will present its innovative Digital Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard (DRAFS) which has recently passed qualification testing. One engineering qualification unit has been fabricated thus far as well as two engineering design units which are reserved for additional testing. The focus in the presentation will be on the development of DRAFS as well as clock frequency stability while subjected to the environmental conditions the unit will experience in a space environment. Topics to be discussed include size, weight, power consumption, environmental sensitivity testing, frequency retrace, radiation hardening, and guaranteed lifetime of the unit over a projected twenty year period.
Published in: Proceedings of the 54th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
January 23 - 26, 2023
Hyatt Regency Long Beach
Long Beach, California
Pages: 165 - 178
Cite this article: Varuolo, Christopher, Shtaerman, Igor, Clark, Daniel J., Napodano, Jason, Skibiel, Paul, Aji, Nicholas, McClelland, Thomas, "Development and Performance of a Digital Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard (DRAFS) as a Next-Generation Space Clock," Proceedings of the 54th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, Long Beach, California, January 2023, pp. 165-178. https://doi.org/10.33012/2023.18687
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