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R.T. Parmley, J. Goodman, M. Regelbrugge, S.W.K. Yuan.
Research and Development Division, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Inc.
Palo Alto, California 94304
Preliminary analyses and development tests are beginning to define the Gravity Probe B
(GP-B) superfluid helium dewar and probe that contain the scientific instrument. The
status of the current dewar and probe concept is reported, and supporting analyses used
to define the neck tube region are described.
The GP-B is a new test of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity based on measuring
with extreme precision in an Earth-orbiting satellite the precessions of gyroscopes with
respect to a telescope pointed at a suitable guide star. The design of the experiment
requires that the gyroscopes and reference telescope operate at liquid helium (LHe)
temperatures, and hence, that the entire mechanical portion of the scientific instrument
be mounted in a long-hold-time liquid helium dewar. This paper discusses the status of
the analyses and design of the probe which holds the scientific instrument and the
superfluid helium (SFHe)dewar into which the probe in mounted.