Journey of Chinese Aerospace Technology and Culture 2019: the 1st Stop -- National Time Service Center (NTSC)

2019-02-28  Share

During February 25th to 28th, the Centre organized a technical trip to Xi’an for 2018 MASTA and DOCSTA participants, including a technical visit to National Time Service Center (NTSC), Chinese Academy of Science (CAS). All participants enjoyed this four-day trip, and expressed their excitement and thankfulness through reports.

On Day 1, participants went to see the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and took an interesting class of “Chinese Calligraphy” .

The next day, participants visited the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Square, a Buddhist pagoda located in southern of Xi’an City. They also visited the famous Terra-Cotta Warriors, an international symbol of China’s history.

On Day 3, participants paid a visit to National Time Service Center (NTSC), Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), a national-level base-type research institute doing the tasks of national standard time generating, keeping and transmitting. NTSC, previously called Shaanxi Astronomical Observatory, is a scientific research institution engaged in the fundamental research and technology R&D in the fields of time-frequency and satellite navigation. NTSC undertakes the task to generate, maintain and transmit the national standard of time-frequency, and operates a national major scientific infrastructure – the long and short wave time service system.

       During the visit of NTSC, participants learned several important things and gained knowledge about how the National Standard Time kept by NTSC, which had high stability and accuracy. It can test and evaluate the atomic clock in different location through the technology of remote time comparison. In the BPL system, time-frequency standard is generated by the cesium atomic clock whose performance has a direct impact on the time service precision. The participants also learned how to generate and maintain Time and Frequency standards, synchronization between Universal Coordinate Time (UTC) and BeiDou Time (BDT). Besides, they went to see the Time Science Museum as well and witnessed many important historical facts and achievements regarding Time.

On the last day, participants went to the Xi’an City Wall which is an impressive and well preserved construction. They discovered the history behind the Ming Dynasty and Tang Dynasty while walking on the City Wall. Besides, they also visited the Bell Tower which has a long history, the Forest of Steles which preserved tons of treasures created by famous calligraphers.

Photographer: David Sustach Garcia, Jane

Some participants shared their review regarding this unforgettable visit:

      “Overall, the visit to the National Time Service Center (NTSC), Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) was very informative for us because most of the things I studied in the MASTA Course ‘GNSS Reference System’ were recalled and I felt lucky enough to gain sound practical knowledge through this technical visit.”


“I truly believe that the comprehension of real time technology equipment, dynamic interaction with researchers, and significant shared knowledge, represented a key development scenario for all MASTA&DOCSTA students from Beihang University. The visit to Xi’an city was considered as an invaluable opportunity for constructive experiences complementing knowledge earned during the semester, where the applications of space technology, time science applications, and technical R&D works done by NTSC profiles for the contextualization, innovation, and further works for the students in the program. Furthermore, Xi’an has shown itself as an amalgam of ancient heritage and modernization projects, in which cultural exchange immersed in Chinese history was experienced by all the participants in this visit.”

——2018MASTA, Micro-satellite, Gabriel Andres Jaimes Illanes