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Orolia to Supply Atomic Clocks for Galileo Satellites

October 17, 2013  - By
Passive hydrogen maser.

Passive hydrogen maser.

Orolia has finalized the contracts to supply Rubidium atomic clocks (Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard, RAFS) and passive hydrogen masers to equip eight satellites for Galileo’s Full Operational Capability Phase II program. The two new contracts, totaling 14.5 million euros, follows the authorization to proceed received in June 2012 for the manufacture of these two types of high-precision clocks.

Orolia brands include Spectratime and Spectracom. The announcement was made through Orolia subsidiary Spectratime.

Each Galileo satellite carries two Rubidium atomic clocks and a passive hydrogen maser, the most stable clock in the world, according to Spectratime. Once completed, this new contract, in partnership with Astrium and Selex Galileo, will make Spectratime the leading supplier in the world for active atomic clocks in space, including 72 for the Galileo system.

Rubidium atomic clock, or RAF.

Rubidium atomic clock, or RAF.

Atomic clocks are used in satellite navigation because of their stability, low weight and high reliability. Very accurate time is used to precisely measure the path of radio signals from the satellites to Earth, and by calculation, the distance between the satellites and the Galileo receiver. The stability of these clocks is enough to guarantee geo-location accuracy of one meter with a fully operational ground infrastructure.

Spectratime said it has the expertise and capability in designing advanced maser physics packages for high-performance, high-reliability space applications, where the clocks need protection in the hostile space environment from radiation, magnetic fields, shock, vibration, or thermal variations.

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