The LARES 2 satellite: new challenges for design and ground test

Antonio Paolozzi, Ignazio Ciufolini, Giampiero Sindoni, Claudio Paris

Abstract


The laser-ranging technique and an extremely precise knowledge of the Earth gravitational field paved the way to perform very accurate measurements in General Relativity and Earth science using passive satellites. LARES 2 belongs to this category of satellites and is approved by the Italian Space Agency with a possible launch date at the end of 2019. One of the most interesting effects predicted by General Relativity is frame-dragging according to which the inertial reference frames are dragged by currents of mass-energy, such as a rotating mass. Indeed, the Earth rotation produces this effect
that has already been measured by a very accurate orbit determination of the LAGEOS and LARES satellites. With this new satellite it will be possible to improve the accuracy of the measurement by one order of magnitude. This very demanding objective can be reached thanks to the unique orbit and the special design of the LARES 2 satellite. The paper will outline the physics behind the experiment and will describe the mission details.

Keywords


Satellite; thermal testing; optics; materials; General Relativity

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19249/ams.v97i3.348

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