Working Overtime: NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock Completes Mission

This illustration shows NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock technology demonstration and the General Atomics Orbital Test Bed spacecraft that hosts it. Spacecraft could one day depend on such instruments to navigate deep space. (Credits: NASA)

Geared toward improving spacecraft navigation, the technology demonstration operated far longer than planned and broke the stability record for atomic clocks in space.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — For more than two years, NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock has been pushing the timekeeping frontiers in space. On Sept. 18, 2021, its mission came to a successful end.

The instrument is hosted on General Atomics’ Orbital Test Bed spacecraft that was launched aboard the Department of Defense Space Test Program 2 mission June 25, 2019. Its goal: to test the feasibility of using an onboard atomic clock to improve spacecraft navigation in deep space.

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Rocket Lab Provides First Half 2021 Financial Results

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)
  • Revenue of $29.5M, representing 237% Year-on-Year revenue growth, accompanied by an expansion in gross margins from negative 67% to a positive 13%.
  • Increasing diversity in revenue, with Space Systems contributing 18% of total revenue in the period, compared to 3% in the prior year, accompanied with gross margins of 65%.
  • Backlog grew 136% Year-on-Year to $141.4 million as of June 30, 2021 as compared to backlog of $59.9 million as of June 30, 2020.

LONG BEACH, Calif., September 08, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today reviewed financial results for the six months ended June 30, 2021, which were previously released in its 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on August 31, 2021.

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General Atomics Awards Contract to Firefly Aerospace to Launch NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols Mission

Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite carrying NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) instrument. (Credit: General Atomics)

SAN DIEGO, February 18, 2021 (GA-EMS PR) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has awarded a contract to Firefly Aerospace Inc. to launch a GA-EMS developed Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite carrying NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) instrument. The launch vehicle delivering the satellite to space will be Firefly’s Alpha rocket and is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 2022.

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General Atomics Receives Contract Extension for NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission

A glimpse of the Deep Space Atomic Clock in the middle bay of the General Atomics Orbital Test Bed spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

SAN DIEGO, CA, (Oct. 6, 2020) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has received a contract extension for a second year of operations of their Orbital Test Bed (OTB) spacecraft supporting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Deep Space  Atomic Clock (DSAC) mission. GA-EMS will continue to provide operations support services from GA-EMS’ spacecraft development and mission operations facilities in Colorado through August 2021. 

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General Atomics Orbital Test Bed Satellite Payload Commissioning Underway

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: General Atomics)

SAN DIEGO, CA, 26 August 2019 – General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that commissioning of NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC), the primary hosted payload on-board the Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite, is now underway. GA-EMS’ OTB was successfully launched at 2:30 a.m. EDT on June 25, 2019 on board the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

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General Atomics Orbital Test Bed Satellite Successfully Launched and Deployed

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Orbital Test Bed successfully launched on board SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. (Credit: General Atomics)

SAN DIEGO, CA (General Atomics PR) – General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that its Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite was successfully launched on-board the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral. OTB was then successfully deployed into orbit after launch, and communication was established between the spacecraft and ground operations to begin satellite commissioning and operations.

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