NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock, an experimental instrument intended to improve positioning, timing and navigation for other spacecraft, will fly as a hosted payload aboard Surrey Satellite Technologies’ Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite in 2015, the U.S. arm of the Britain-based company said in a June 27 press release.
The OTB satellite is headed to a 700 kilometer orbit inclined at 70 degrees, according to Surrey’s website.
The Deep Space Atomic Clock is a miniature mercury-ion atomic clock that is 10 times more accurate than comparable systems in use today. It is one of three technology demonstration mission announced in 2011 as pressing priorities for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The others are a solar sail experiment slated to fly in 2014 and a laser communications system that would enable spacecraft to transfer data at rates 100 times faster than radio-frequency systems.