SpectraTime Awarded Contract to Improve Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standards

April 18, 2012  - By
Image: GPS World

SpectraTime, a business of the Orolia Group, today announced it has been awarded a 1M€ contract to improve rubidium atomic frequency standards (RAFS) as part of the European Global Navigation Satellite System Evolution Program.

Pascal Rochat, SpectraTime Managing director and founder, said, “We are pleased to continue to push the performance limits of space-based precision clock technologies to enable new applications in the future. The knowledge gained through this investigation will be invaluable. As a result we expect all our customers to benefit from this work as our commercial products are derived from the same design and manufacturing process as our space-based clocks.”

Atomic clock standards are critical for high-precision applications such as global navigation satellite systems. While the current Rubidium-based atomic frequency standards meet the requirements of current systems, future applications will demand a higher level of performance for short-term and long-term stability, SpectraTime said. Recognizing the need to continue to extend this technology to new performance levels, the European Space Agency (ESA) has turned to SpectraTime, the existing supplier of atomic clocks for the Galileo satellites and other GNSS satellite systems.

“The award of this new development contract illustrates the European Space Agency’s confidence in our technology and confirms our global leadership role in the supply of precision atomic clocks for navigation applications,” said Jean-Yves Courtois, CEO of the Orolia Group. “Not only will this ensure our competitiveness into the future for the European space market, it will benefit our entire portfolio of programs and customers and secures our leading position in navigation applications.”

The contract is for a detailed investigation of the current design, manufacturing, assembly and test techniques for fully integrated rubidium clocks in order to achieve a new standard for space within two years. It adds to SpectraTime’s wide portfolio of space-based precision timing projects.


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