Self-Flying Spacecraft

On June 24, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched, carrying new NASA technology to space.  One of the technologies, the Deep Space Atomic Clock, will hopefully improve deep space navigation and, one day, enable spacecraft to fly itself.  The Clock is similar to atomic clocks found in GPS satellites, but more stable, and will be a critical part of future spacecraft navigation systems - if it works.  The Clock just started a one-year technology demonstration, and it will take weeks for the Clock to fully power on, and months before any performance analysis can begin.


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