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Jill Seubert

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Jill Seubert is an aerospace engineer working for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as Deputy Principal Investigator for the Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission.[1]


Jill Seubert studied Aerospace Engineering at Penn State University, where she finished her bachelor's degree in 2005. After this, she studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she finished her master's degree in 2009 and holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from 2011.


From July 2005 to August 2007, Seubert worked as an Associate Engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory before starting on her Master's studies.

After receiving her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in 2011, Seubert worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she took the position of Deputy Principal Investigator for the Deep Space Atomic Clock program.

NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock Program[edit]

NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) Mission aims to enable future space craft to steer autonomously by measuring their own distance to Earth instead of relying on the current Earth-based system. The difference is that with the current system a signal has to be sent from Earth to the space craft and back again. The time it takes this signal for the journey is measured precisely and reveals the distance of the space craft to Earth. However, the longer this distance gets, the longer the signal takes to make the entire jump from Earth to the space craft and back to Earth again. This means that it gets less and less feasible to make adjustments to the space craft's flight path and more and more impossible to react to unforeseen events.[2]

In order to address this issue, the Deep Space Atomic Clock program aims to make it possible to bring highly accurate atomic clocks on board with space craft. This would enable the craft to determine their own distance to Earth and navigate accordingly, making long-distance space flights more feasible and allowing for self-navigating space craft in the future.[3]

On June 22, 2019, NASA launched the DSAC on board a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket with the goal to insert it into Earth's orbit for an in-orbit test of the clock's reliability under outer-space conditions.[4]

Work with DSAC[edit]

Jill Seubert's work with NASA has mainly focused on the miniaturization of an atomic clock to be used in space vessels. She describes her job as the following: "I steer space craft from the moment they separate from their launch vehicle until they reach their destination in space."[5] Because navigation in space is fundamentally about precisely measuring time, Seubert's work with the DSAC will have a significant impact on the future of space exploration.


  1. Seubert, Jill. "Jill Seubert - Deputy Principal Investigator, Deep Space Atomic Clock Navigation Engineer, Inner Planets Navigation". LinkedIn. Retrieved 08.03.2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help); Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. Mohon, Lee (2015-05-20). "Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) Overview". NASA. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  3. Greicius, Tony (2019-06-03). "Five Things to Know about NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock". NASA. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  4. "Deep Space Atomic Clock". Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  5. Seubert, Jill, How a miniaturized atomic clock could revolutionize space exploration, retrieved 2020-03-08

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