NASA has started commissioning efforts for an atomic clock device aboard the General Atomics-built Orbital Test Bed satellite. The Deep Space Atomic Clock is a miniature mercury-ion device built to accommodate deep space exploration and navigation capabilities under NASA’s Technology Demonstration Missions Program, the company said Monday.
Scott Forney, president at General Atomics’ electromagnetic systems business, said DSAC is powering up and setting up normal telemetry as part of the commissioning process.
“We are working closely with [Jet Propulsion Laboratory] to successfully bring DSAC to operational status, and will continue to provide operations support services as DSAC enters its year-long mission to demonstrate its capabilities to support deep space navigation,” added Forney.
Aside from DSAC, General Atomics has fielded various technology demonstration payloads onto the satellite, including a modular solar array and a programmable satellite receiver system.