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SPACE LOG: Syntonics LLC To Develop NASA Oscillator Prototype
Space News, March 26, 2001


Syntonics LLC plans to develop a 50-gram oscillator prototype for spacecraft use, Syntonics President Bruce Montgomery said in a written response to Space News questions. Oscillators synchronize or measure radio frequencies transmitted to and received from spacecraft.

NASA awarded Syntonics and its teammate, the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, a 24-month, $882,000 contract to develop the miniature ultra-stable oscillators, Montgomery said in his response. While the contract ends in February 2003, Montgomery hopes to complete work on the prototype in July 2002, he said.

According to John Hopkins University's web site, its Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) created Syntonics LLC, the lab's first start-up company, under an initiative to commercialize some of its inventions and portions of its space research and test facilities. The laboratory licensed its ultrastable oscillator technology to Syntonics, as a stand-alone, independent entity, to develop, manufacture and sell ultrastable oscillators.

The university retains a minority equity interest in Syntonics LLC, and APL will continue to perform ultrastable oscillator research and development, and will continue producing one-of-a-kind products.

Among the applications for the oscillator is enabling microsatellites to fly in formation, Montgomery said.