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Eotvos, an inertial instrument for testing the equivalence principle

Blaser, J.P. and Lockerbie, N.A. and Paik, H.J. and Speake, C. and Vitale, S. (1996) Eotvos, an inertial instrument for testing the equivalence principle. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 13 (11A). A203-A206. ISSN 0264-9381

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A really inertial platform for highest sensitivity instruments needing to be absolutely free from any disturbances like drag and other forces in space is proposed for the case of an equivalence principle test with differential accelerometers. A spin-stable platform, inside a corotating outer spacecraft shielding it, constitutes the reference proof mass for a simple position servo system. Position measurements, as well as signal transmissions, are achieved optically. Power is supplied by microwave beams. The proposed ambient temperature EP-mission E¨otv¨os in an 800 km equatorial orbit would constitute a simple, very economic experiment. Limitations to the potentially very high precision are expected to be set by thermal disturbances.