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Center Innovation Fund: JPL CIF

First Demonstration of Pulsar Positioning System (PPS)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

First Demonstration of Pulsar Positioning System (PPS)
Carry out first time demonstration of a global positioning system using pulsars as celestial clocks. Pulsars are rotating neutron stars that emit clock-like pulses across the electromagnetic spectrum. A subclass of pulsars rotating ~1000 times per second, the so called millisecond pulsars (MSPs) have fantastic precision and are targeted for precision tests of GR, and detection of GW. The same pulsars can also be used as navigation beacons to obtain the position and velocity of spacecraft’s in an almost autonomous fashion. Among the ~2300 pulsars detected so far, ~250 belong to the MSP family, mostly detected in radio wavelength. More »

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