Skip to Main Content
For more than two decades, NASA deep space network (DSN) frequency and timing metrology has been a driving application for remote transfer of stable radio-frequency signals over fiber-optic cables. Precise, accurate, and stable signals are essential for deep-space communication and tracking, and syntonized and synchronized reference signals from atomic clocks calibrated to coordinated universal time must often be distributed over large distances. Fiber-optic technologies developed at the jet propulsion laboratory have resulted in several operational signal transport capabilities that enable precise spacecraft navigation and sensitive radio science experiments. These techniques are now finding further applicability in metrology applications to remotely compare ultra stable microwave and optical atomic clocks and for antenna array X- and Ka-band signal transport applications where temporal phase stability and alignment are critical. The pioneering DSN photonic link developments and capabilities are summarized, and a stabilized multiphotonic link architecture for ultrastable signal transport in antenna arrays is described.