Originally posted by HandyAndy
Sad note: NASA's 55th birthday was yesterday, but nobody was around to celebrate.
It was nice working for them back in 1970, worked on Apollo tracking and timing. Cesium beam atomic clocks and the transponder that told how far out in space Apollo was at any given time, accurate to 50 feet. Not bad for 1960's technology, eh.
My highlight at Goddard, getting shown the huge vault containing the moon rocks and being given one to hold in my hand. Talk about epiphany!
BTW, the racks of equipment we used to sync apollo, the HP cesium beam atomic clock and others, is now small enough for a large wrist watch, accurate to within 1 second in 1,000 years!:
This iteration is a bit large to be called a wrist watch and it costs a mere 12,000 bucks, but this is the first one of its type. Clearly will get smaller and cheaper just like everything else electronic.
My watch is that accurate but only when it receives the radio signal at 60 kilohertz from WWV in colorado, the time hack which keeps the watch accurate.
Lately however, the signal has been mostly not there, maybe I have to wait for winter for it to become reliable again but it hasn't set the watch in almost a month so it is probably over 30 seconds out by now. No big deal but having worked on atomic clocks for a living, I would like my watch to be the same accuracy.
I heard the signal modulation scheme for the WWV time hack has changed to quadrature modulation from the old AM scheme, but they have to broadcast both signals to maintain the older watch radio's. The new modulation scheme is supposed to be more robust and take less signal to be decoded. As it is, I have to have the signal acquired for a full 5 minutes at full strength in order to reset the watch to atomic accuracy.
I saw on the net a 60 Khz antenna/amplifier kit that gives a much stronger signal, you just hold the watch inside the antenna ring and it gets a much stronger signal. The bad news is it costs a couple hundred bucks.
Oh well, that's the breaks.