The SHM Hydrogen Atomic Clock for Space Applications. Development and Test of the PEM Physics Package
L. G. /Bernier ;A. /Jornod ;H. /Scweda ;R. /Gentsch ;G. /Busca
OBSERVATOIRE CANTONAL DE NEUCHATEL (SWITZERLAND)
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A compact Space-borne active Hydrogen Maser SHM frequency standard is being developed by the Observatory of Neuchhtel under the Swiss PRODEX program of ESA. The SHM instrument will be flown on the Radioastron RA mission in 2000 to be used as the reference clock for orbital Very Long Baseline Interferometry VLBI and for the red-shift experiment CRONOS. The SHM design is based on a miniature sapphire loaded microwave cavity which makes possible an active hydrogen maser with a 1.7 liter storage volume for atomic hydrogen within a 50 kg space qualified instrument. A preliminary measurement of the SHM instrument frequency stability using breadboard electronics has yielded an Allan deviation of sigma, 1000s3 x 10 -15 which is already close to the sigma. 1000s 15 x 10-15 instrument specification. An extensive program for the design verification by test analysis of the PEM-PP was performed in 1997 and is now near completion. Potential space applications of a compact active hydrogen maser instrument include scientific experiments related to relativity, precise ranging and navigation, time dissemination and synchronization. Present plans are to push miniaturization even further with the development of a 35 kg active hydrogen MAser for Navigation MAN for GNSS applications.
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Lasers and Masers
- Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods