Quantum optical technologies for the satellite navigation systems of the future

In the COMPASSO project, an iodine laser clock, a laser terminal and an optical frequency comb, which have been developed at DLR, will be tested under space conditions on the International Space Station ISS. These components will be installed on the Bartolomeo platform, which is mounted on the exterior of the European Columbus research module.

For use in space, optical technologies must be particularly compact, robust and durable. The development of the various components is currently under way. After they have been proven on the ISS, they will be made ready for use in the European Galileo satellite navigation system.

Compact, highly stable laser-optical clocks can significantly improve the performance of future generations of satellite navigation systems, such as Galileo. In addition, optical connections (laser links) between the satellites and to the ground infrastructure have the potential to significantly increase the accuracy of positioning on Earth. At the same time, the complexity and size of the ground infrastructure could be reduced.

COMPASSO is one of the largest projects in the Galileo Competence Center, which opened in 2021, and will be carried out in close cooperation with industrial partners.


German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Stefan Schlüter · Email