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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Micro-size Precision Timing Unit for CubeSat Applications

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

We propose to design, develop, fabricate, and test a micro-size accurate timing unit that offers unprecedented frequency stability over a wide range of temperature. The proposed micro-size precision clocks will reduce thermal sensitivity and susceptibility to shock and acceleration. The new micro-size reference clocks will have wide applications for CubeSats and for NASA’s future instruments that require miniaturized timing units.

The timing units used for space applications are based on quartz crystal resonators, which have a small temperature coefficient of elasticity (TCE), large size and incompatibility with electronic fabrication processes. The micro-size timing unit will use MEMS fabricated silicon resonators replace the quartz crystal resonators to develop a better precision timing unit for space applications. The new precision timing unit will have a wide temperature range and lower susceptibility to shock and acceleration. It can be integrated into the electronics, which will reduce the size and lower cost for NASA’s future instruments.

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