Atomic Clock for Space Missions
Space missions and deep space exploration programs rely on high precision Atomic clocks and AccuBeat is proud to have been selected to develop and produce an Ultra Stable Oscillator (USO) for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) mission.
AccuBeat’s space qualified Ultra Stable Oscillator (USO) solution for deep space will serve as the central source of timing in the mission and will be part of a radio science occultation experiment headed by Professor Yohai Kaspi and Dr. Eli Galanti from the Weizmann Institute in Israel in collaboration with Professor Luciano Iess from La-Sapienza University in Rome. As Prof. Kaspi mentions in the attached letter of appreciation “Based on the excellent stability of the USO developed by AccuBeat we expect an unprecedented science return, allowing us for the first time to characterize the vertical structure of the atmosphere of Jupiter down to a level of 2 bar at excellent accuracy.” The planned experiments will probe Jupiter’s atmosphere by following the phase variations of the radio waves passing through the atmosphere while the spacecraft transmits to earth using AccuBeat’s ultra-high stability frequency source.
AccuBeat’s USO is a high-stability quartz crystal oscillator utilizing a high Q crystal resonator and high temperature stability in the range of 100µ kelvin. The USO designed by AccuBeat, has an Allan Deviation substantially better than the required spec of 5E-13 at integration constants of 1 to 1000 seconds, making it the most stable oscillator of its type designed for deep space exploration. AccuBeat’s USO has been designed to meet this specification while subjected to demanding EMC effects and the harsh environment around Jupiter with radiation levels reaching as high as 100kRad on some internal components.
JUICE is the flagship project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and in May 2022, the spacecraft will set off on an almost 600 million Km journey to Jupiter, where it is expected to arrive in 2030. For three and a half years, JUICE will sweep around the giant planet, exploring its turbulent atmosphere, enormous magnetosphere, and tenuous set of dark rings, as well as studying its three largest icy moons - Europa, Ganymede and Callisto all with the help of AccuBeat’s USO designed for Deep Space Exploration. “The goal is to investigate whether there are liquid oceans under these icy crusts which might harbour organic components or even life” says Vincent Poinsignon, the JUICE project manager.
Letter of Appreciation regarding AccuBeat’s USO
The USO was developed in cooperation with the Israeli Space Agency
AccuBeat’s AR81 was specifically designed to meet the requirements of Galileo – Europe’s GNSS Satelite and Navigation system. The AR81 is a 1U, 19” rack-mounted unit featuring an ultra high-stability and ultra-low phase noise Rubidium Frequency Standard. The unit has six 10 MHz outputs and two redundant power supplies. AccuBeat’s AR81 is an integral part of the ground equipment of Galileo since the initial stages of the project.
Airbus Defence and Space present the JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) spacecraft that will head for Jupiter in 2022. Its main mission will be to explore the huge planet’s three largest icy moons in the hope of determining whether life is possible on these dwarf planets. These experiments will be carried out with the aid of AccuBeat’s USO.
Video courtesy of AirBus Defense Systems and ESA