Hello- Gravity Probe B has finished the collection phase of its mission and has downloaded data to the pertinent parties. The following press release out today:
Almost 90 years after Albert Einstein first postulated his general theory of relativity, scientists have finished collecting data to put it to a new, different kind of experimental test.
NASA's Gravity Probe B satellite has been orbiting the Earth for more than 17 months. It used four ultra-precise gyroscopes to generate the data required for this unprecedented test. Fifty weeks worth of data has been downloaded from the spacecraft and relayed to computers in the Mission Operations Center at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Scientists have begun the painstaking task of data analysis and validation, which is expected to take approximately one year.
Launched on April 20, 2004, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Gravity Probe B has been using four spherical gyroscopes to precisely measure two extraordinary effects predicted by Einstein's theory. One is the geodetic effect, the amount by which the Earth warps the local space time in which it resides. The other, called frame-dragging, is the amount by which the rotating Earth drags local space time around with it.
"The completion of the GP-B mission is the culmination of years of hard work, training and preparation by the GP-B team," said Tony Lyons, NASA GP-B program manager from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The Marshall manages the Gravity Probe B program. Stanford conceived the experiment and is NASA's prime contractor for the mission. Stanford was responsible for the design and integration of the science instruments and mission operations. The university has the lead for data analysis. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company designed, integrated and tested the space vehicle and built some major payload components.
Moderator: Mike Everman
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