Airbus Defence and Space

Manned Space Missions Press releases

Airbus Defence and Space delivers first ACES Ground Terminal

A new tool to test Einstein´s theory of relativity

Airbus Defence and Space has delivered the first ACES Ground Terminal to the German National Metrology Institute (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt, PTB) in Braunschweig (Germany). All around the world scientists are getting ready to challenge what is known today about time and space. A rigorous test of Einstein’s theory of relativity is the aim of the ACES (Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space), developed by Airbus Defence and Space for the European Space Agency ESA.

Airbus Defence and Space will deliver nine Ground Terminals needed to compare their ultra-accurate atomic clocks to the ACES "super clock" that will orbit Earth on the International Space Station. Several times a day the ISS appears over the horizon, and the Ground Terminals then autonomously track the Space Station and compare the ACES clock ensemble to the ground atomic clocks in the institutes.

The first Ground Terminal is now been readied for installation at PTB in Braunschweig (Germany). It will be followed by similar units installed in France, the UK, Japan, and the USA.

Delivering a performance equivalent to losing only one second every 300 million years, ACES will help scientists carry out research into such exotic phenomena as relativistic time shifts and drifts of the fundamental constants defining the Universe. The mission will start with the launch of the ACES clock ensemble scheduled for Spring 2017.

 

About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs more than 38,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €13 billion per year.

Press contacts:

Astrid Emerit + 33 1 39 06 89 43 astrid.emerit@airbus.com
Jeremy Close + 44 14 38 77 38 72 jeremy.close@astrium.eads.net
Gregory Gavroy + 33 1 39 06 89 42 gregory.gavroy@airbus.com
Ralph Heinrich + 49 89 607 33971 ralph.heinrich@airbus.com
Mathias Pikelj + 49 75 45 89 123 mathias.pikelj@airbus.com
Francisco Lechón + 34 91 586 37 41 francisco.lechon@astrium.eads.net

 

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ACES (Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space) Ground TerminalISSESAAirbus Defence and Space