Einstein-Elevator: A New Facility for Research from µg to 5g

Einstein-Elevator: A New Facility for Research from µg to 5g

Kategorien Vortrag
Jahr 2017
Autoren Lotz, C.; Overmeyer, L.; Ertmer, W.
Veröffentlicht in 33rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR), Seattle, 27.10.2017.

The Einstein-Elevator is a novel ground-based facility for large and heavy experiment setups that require weightlessness with high repetition rates. Through the use of linear motors in combination with a moving vacuum chamber surrounding the experiment setup, the Einstein-Elevator can perform one run every 4 minutes. In addition to ability to research in weightlessness or microgravity (μg), the design of this facility allows for other gravitational conditions ranging from 0.1‑0.9 g, as well as 1‑5 g. Operation will begin spring 2018.

The development of the Einstein-Elevator was driven by quantum physics experiments and additive manufacturing of components in space currently being researched at the Leibniz Universität Hannover in Germany. This research demands the investigation of small effects, which are masked predominantly by the gravity of the earth, and of new production processes usable in space. Valid research in these areas requires high repetition rates, fast uncomplicated access and minimized security restrictions compared to flight-based or space missions. These are requirements that go beyond the possibilities of existing facilities and therefore have made a new design necessary.

A handful of large-scale research facilities for simulation of microgravity exist worldwide, but no comparable system is available so far. Neither the desired repetition rate nor the capability of simulating different gravitational conditions have been realized before. Currently, several other scientific institutions are planning to erect a system that is technically similar to our developed design.

We present the concept and the realization for a new machine to investigate microgravity experiments on earth. It also describes how applications to research under microgravity are favorably impacted by using a design with linear motors, a moving evacuated gondola and a unique guidance system. Planned topics include the substrate-free additive manufacturing, flame propagation research and the fundamental physics research carried out so far in a large-scale drop tower and rocket missions. The Einstein-Elevator enables enhanced possibilities for research in these different fields for the first time.

This research is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Lower Saxony state government to build the Hannover Institute of Technology (HITec) and the Einstein-Elevator (NI1450004).


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