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ACES Ground Terminal to Test Theory of Relativity

Image courtesy of Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space has supplied the first ACES Ground Terminal to the German National Metrology Institute (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt, PTB) in Braunschweig (Germany).

Testing the Theory of Relativity

The international scientific community is preparing to challenge what we think we know about time and space. The aim of the the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES), designed by Airbus Defence and Space for the European Space Agency ESA, is to conduct a rigorous test test of Einsteins theory of relativity.

Ground Terminals

Airbus Defence and Space will supply nine Ground Terminals required to compare their ultra-accurate atomic clocks with the ACES “super clock”, which will orbit Earth on the International Space Station. The ISS appears over the horizon throughout the day, allowing the Ground Terminals to autonomously track it and compare the ACES clock ensemble to the ground atomic clocks.

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The first Ground Terminal is ready for installation at PTB in Braunschweig (Germany). This is the first of comparable units installed in France, the UK, Japan, and the USA.

Fundamental Constants

The clock, which loses only one second every 300 million years, ACES will help scientists conduct research into fascinating phenomena such as relativistic time shifts and drifts of the fundamental constants defining the Universe. The undertaking will begin following the launch of the ACES clock ensemble in the Spring of 2017.

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