The Advanced Space Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Branch (formerly Space Applications Branch) conducts a program of basic and applied R&D in the areas of advanced navigation satellite technology, Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI) theory and techniques, timing critical communications systems, space surveillance, and precision tracking from space and ground. Theoretical and experimental investigations in advanced navigation satellite technology are expanding the understanding of system design and interoperation with a diverse mix of receiving equipment used for a wide range of military, space, geodetic, and time dissemination applications. These investigations involve critical precise time generation and measurement technology for passive and active ranging techniques incorporating advanced communications methodologies of data transmission and signal design. The PTTI research area involves theoretical and experimental development of atomic time/frequency standards and instrumentation to support highly precise and accurate timescale systems in scientific and military uses. Communications and identification systems are critically dependent upon highly accurate and stable time/frequency standards coordinated to a common timescale with diverse dissemination techniques and systems. PTTI coordination within DoN and DoD, and dissemination systems design is a unique research area being investigated. Laboratory and field experimental efforts in communications system design and operation with advanced PTTI technologies is directly expanding the capabilities of such operational systems as DSCS and special satellite communications systems.
The detection, tracking, and monitoring of spacecraft and orbiting objects for surveillance, and as another key technology for precise positioning of navigation satellites, is another research area. System design and laboratory development of new devices and receivers are being investigated to support field experiments demonstrating the resultant capabilities for operational systems. Special experimental devices and systems are employed to study and identify future research areas to be exploited.