Einstein's Theory of Relativity to be Tested
NASA is preparing to put Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to the test. The Gravity Probe B (GP-B) spacecraft will use four ultra-precise gyroscopes to determine whether space and time are distorted by the presence
of massive objects.
Albert Einstein conceived the Theory of General Relativity.
In order to carry out the mission, GP-B will measure two factors - how space
and time are warped by the presence of the Earth, and how the Earth's rotation
drags space-time around with it.
At Stanford University, ideas for Gravity Probe B began to take shape in 1960.
A physics-engineering team was formed, led since 1962 by Francis Everitt, now
GP-B principal investigator. So began a long process of design, analysis, and
exploratory research funded by NASA and supported technically by NASA's
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The GP-B spacecraft was
designed, integrated and tested by Lockheed Martin.
The GP-B spacecraft arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base July 10 from the
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Facility in Sunnyvale, Calif. Launch is set for
late 2003 aboard a Boeing Delta II launch vehicle.
Computer-designed artist rendering of the
Gravity Probe B space vehicle
Low- and high-resolution JPEG image files of Gravity Probe B can be found
For more information on the Gravity Probe B mission, see:
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and John F. Kennedy Space Center