NASA is set to send a new technology to Earth’s orbit that will change the space navigation.
The Deep Space Atomic Clock works like GPS and the first atomic clock designed to fly onboard a spacecraft that goes beyond Earth’s orbit, dramatically improving the process. It allows spacecraft to receive a signal from Earth and determine its location immediately using an onboard navigation system.
It proved to be up to 50 times more stable than the atomic clocks on GPS satellites. If the mission can prove this stability in space, it will be one of the most precise clocks in the universe.
The Deep Space Atomic Clock uses mercury ions that are contained in electromagnetic traps which control the ions and makes them less vulnerable to external forces.
It leaves Earth on SpaceX Falcon heavy rocket on June 24th 2019, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will remain in space for a year to help NASA determine whether it can remain stable in orbit. If all works well, it could fly on a mission as early as the 2030s. You can watch the first Deep Space Atomic Clock leave Earth aboard a Falcon Heavy on June 24th through NASA’s Livestream.