The NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) requires state-of-the-art frequency references that are derived and distributed from very stable atomic frequency standards. A new Frequency Reference System (FRS) and Frequency Reference Distribution System (FRD) have been developed, which together replace the previous Coherent Reference Generator System (CRG). The FRS and FRD each provide new capabilities that significantly improve operability and reliability.

The FRS allows for selection and switching between frequency standards, a flywheel capability (to avoid interruptions when switching frequency standards), and a frequency synthesis system (to generate standardized 5-, 10-, and 100-MHz reference signals). The FRS is powered by redundant, specially filtered, and sustainable power systems and includes a monitor and control capability for station operations to interact and control the frequency-standard selection process. The FRD receives the standardized 5-, 10-, and 100-MHz reference signals and distributes signals to distribution amplifiers in a fan out fashion to dozens of DSN users that require the highly stable reference signals. The FRD is also powered by redundant, specially filtered, and sustainable power systems.

The new DSN Frequency Distribution System, which consists of the FRS and FRD systems described here, is central to all operational activities of the NASA DSN. The frequency generation and distribution system provides ultra-stable, coherent, and very low phase-noise references at 5, l0, and 100 MHz to between 60 and 100 separate users at each Deep Space Communications Complex.

This work was done by Blake C. Tucker, John E. Lauf, Robert L. Hamell, Jorge Gonzalez, Jr., William A. Diener, and Robert L. Tjoelker of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-46602