COMPASSO is a mission to demonstrate optical clock and link technologies on the Bartolomeo platform at the International Space Station (ISS). One of the key payload elements is an iodine-based optical frequency reference, which is being developed at the DLR Institute for Quantum Technologies. The iodine-based frequency reference exhibits a very high frequency stability and is a possible candidate for an alternative clock technology for future generations of Galileo. It exploits the hyperfine structure splitting of the line spectrum of the iodine molecule, in which a laser is stabilized to a resonance at a wavelength near 532 nm. With their unique properties, iodine-based frequency references are not only suitable for future satellite navigation systems but also for space missions related to science and Earth observation.
The COMPASSO project is led by the DLR Galileo Competence Center. The iodine-based frequency reference is being developed under the responsibility of the DLR Institute of Quantum Technologies, with the involvement of other DLR institutes (DLR Institute of Space Systems, Bremen; DLR Institute of Optical Sensor Systems, Berlin; DLR Institute of Communication and Navigation, Oberpfaffenhofen), the DLR Galileo Competence Center, the Institute of Scientific Instruments of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Brno, Czech Republic), and other participants from science and industry.
The DLR Institute for Quantum Technologies additionally supports the COMPASSO project in the field of systems engineering.