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22-Jul-03 | GP-B arrives at Vandenberg

Speaking of gyroscopes, Gravity Probe B arrived at Vandenberg AFB on Thursday, 10 July, following ground transport from the Lockheed Martin plant in Sunnyvale, California. It is presently being processed in NASA spacecraft processing hangar 1610 in preparation for an expected launch in November. Its two-stage Delta II will begin erection at Space Launch Complex 2 on September 15. (NASA ELV Status Report, 11-Jul-03) GP-B will use four highly-accurate gyroscopes to test two predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity that he advanced in 1916: one, that the mass of the Earth distorts the fabric of spacetime around it; and two, that the rotation of the Earth drags spacetime around with it as it spins. Evidence of this so-called “frame dragging” effect was previously evinced by LAGEOS-1 (Delta 123) way back in 1998.

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