Satellite Based Optical Tests of Special and General Relativity

A mission proposal to the German Space Agency DLR (2001)



Scientific Objectives

Experimental Payload

Orbit and Satellite



The OPTIS-team


The Goal: The goal of the OPTIS mission is to improve tests of the foundations of Special and General Relativity by up to three orders of magnitude. The constancy of the speed of light will be tested with three orders of magnitude improvement and the universality of the gravitational red shift with two orders.

The Mission: OPTIS is to be carried through using modern technologies like optical cavities, highly stabilized lasers, frequency combs, capacitive inertial sensors, drag free attitude control, etc. These techniques will find applications in other future space missions, too.

Experimental Basis: This mission relies on the collaborator's expertise in high precision tests of Special Relativity, in metrology and in space technology. Today's most precise (terrestrial) tests of the constancy of the speed of light have been demonstrated by groups at Düsseldorf and Konstanz, and the Bremen group is involved in drag free control for other fundamental physics space missions.

Support: A study on this mission proposal was supported by the German Space Agency DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt).

Responsible for these web-pages: Stephan Schiller, step.schiller --at-- uni-duesseldorf.de