Space experiment on time scales synchronization using an optical laser location system


Zhabin A. S.

Research-and-Production Corporation «Precision Systems and Instruments», 53, Aviamotornaya str., Moscow, 111024, Russia



This paper describes the perspective way to provide a subnanosecond accuracy of time scales checking is using a space optical laser location system. The application is satellites of GLONASS system or others and land stations with central synchronizers or other object with its own time scales used for the local purposes. The considered system consists of land and space segments. The land station provides short impulses of laser radiation (the wavelength is 532 nanometers, impulse duration less than 400 picosecond) in the direction to the spacecraft and registers exact time of start impulse and arrival time of an impulse reflected by the retroreflex system installed on a satellite. These measurements are made in a land station time scale. The space segment provides precision registration arrival time of a laser impulses in a satellite time scale. These measurements open a way to calculate time scales difference between a space satellite and land station.

The solution of perspective problems of precision checking time scales requires transition from nanosecond accuracy of measurements to subnanosecond accuracy. Optical laser location systems allow to solve problems of far located objects time scale synchronization with from tens to hundreds picoseconds accuracy. Such accuracy wasn’t reached by any other systems so far. This work is performed by the Federal program «Maintenance, Development and Use of GLONASS System for 2012-2020», the customer is a Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation.


optical laser location, precision time measurement, time scale synchronization


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