Space Solutions

For the satellite market, the Company has a unique legacy of providing master timing systems, power converters, and frequency generation, synthesis and distribution systems. These products are applicable for both commercial and U.S. Government end use. Currently, there are approximately 3,400 satellites with varying remaining useful lives operating in geostationary, medium and low Earth orbits. The U.S. government operates approximately 1,900 of these.


FEI builds mission critical solutions for space. FEI has in-house production capabilities of key-building-blocks of these systems like quartz fabrication to produce resonators and timing systems and vapor cell production using rubidium chloride to produce atomic clocks and other quantum sensing devices.  FEI designs, develops and manufactures space qualified solutions for programs like:

        • AEHF
        • GPS-III
        • GPS-IIIF
        • OPIR
        • SBIRS
        • IRIDIUM



FEI Solutions integrate previously developed components and solutions from the list below into a deliverable subsystem that meets the customers requirements and which can include the below functions in single, dual and triple redundant configurations:


The number of operational satellites with emphasis on high-throughput is expected to continue to grow over the next ten years as demand for higher bandwidths and improved anti-jam-antispoofing increases. Furthermore, the U.S. Government is expected to contract options for additional GPS III satellites, and the company is well positioned to compete for the onboard clock ensemble with its high-precision digital rubidium atomic frequency standards.

Product Examples

For space, all products are tailored made and developed specifically for customer requirements reusing and integrating previously developed components and subsystems.  The products on our website are just a fraction of the 1000’s of units FEI has delivered for space applications.


FEI has two very important next generation atomic clock programs with the Office of Navy Research.  The Pulsed Optically Pumped Rubidium Frequency Standard as well as the Mercury Ion Clock in partnership with JPL promise future unmatched performance for Navy time keeping standards.


Pulsed optically pumped (POP) rubidium vapor atomic clocks provides even better long-term stability with vapor cell clock simplicity. The typical Rubidium lamp is replaced with a single laser light source and the filter cell is removed. All the remaining physics elements are proven legacy technology. The design is targeting a significant reduction in size, weight and power with a target size being a 2 slot 3U VPX.

A POPRAFS clock is expected to provide a 10X improvement in stability:

      • Flicker floor: σy(τ) = 3E-14/√τ
      • Stability: σy(τ) = 3E-12/√τ
      • Drift < 1E-14/day


Mercury Ion Clock

FEI is working with JPL to bring the JPL Mercury Ion clock technology from the laboratory to production.  This advanced ion clock technology enhances long term stability from electromagnetically trapped ions. It is a compact, environmentally robust design that is manufacturable. FEI is also developing a low ADEV quartz oscillator (σy (τ)∼ 3 × 10-13 at τ= 1s).

USNO Master Clock/GPS

FEI also supports the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) which has provided timing for the Navy and the Department of Defense since 1830 and, in cooperation with other institutions, has also provided timing for the United States and the international community. Its Master Clock (MC) is the source of UTC (USNO), the USNO’s realization of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which has stayed within 5 ns RMS of UTC since 1999. The data used to generate UTC (USNO) are based upon 73 cesium and 21 hydrogen maser frequency standards in three buildings at two sites. The USNO disseminates time via voice, telephone modem, LORAN, Network Time Protocol (NTP), GPS, and Two-Way Satellite Time Transfer (TWSTT).

Today, USNO’s Precise Time Department is charged with maintaining the DoD reference for Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI).  That reference is UTC(USNO).  This time-scale is determined by an ensemble of dozens of atomic frequency standards, popularly called “atomic clocks”, which are continuously scanned, selected, and averaged by computer to provide a day-to-day precision measured at the picosecond (10-12 seconds) level per day.

 The DoD common time reference is the U.S. Naval Observatory Master Clock.  It is generated at USNO in Washington, D.C. and at the Alternate Master Clock Facility at Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado.

USNO monitors the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation and provides system timing offsets to the U.S. Space Force 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), timing data for individual GPS satellites, and time transfer services using GPS.

Frequency Electronics has a long history of supporting the USNO and National Institute of Standards (NIST) time keeping mission and has 1000’s of Space Qualified Rubidium Frequency Standards Operating in space.  The FEI Digital Rubidium Frequency Standard is one of the key master clocks for the future GPS launches.

The commercial use of satellites launched for communications, navigation, weather forecasting, video and data transmissions has led to the increased need and ability to transmit information to Earth- based receivers, which requires precise timing and frequency control of the satellite systems. FEI has provided the following products to the satellite industry:

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FEI Provides Products and Solutions Used by
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