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You don't need a space probe. Or an aircraft. Or even a car. NIST has measured the predicted general relativity time dilation due to a change in altitude on Earth of one foot!

52

In addition to specific probes like the one mentioned by called2voyage, the effect is significant enough that it affects everyday operations. For example, the GPS constellation needs regular clock corrections because the satellite hardware sits much higher up the gravity well than the ground hardware. The Wikipedia page for gravitational time dilation ...

47

Statement of the Problem The problem you want to solve is called the Kepler problem. In your formulation of the problem, you're starting out with the Cartesian orbital state vectors (also called Cartesian elements): that is, the initial position and velocity. As you have discovered, the only way to propagate the Cartesian elements forward in time is by ...

43

ERT is Earth Received Time. I.e., when we find out about the event. source

39

Yes, time dilation was experimentally confirmed by Gravity Probe A, launched by NASA on June 18, 1976. The clock rates of two masers (one on the probe and one on Earth) were compared, and it was found that the difference matched what was predicted with an accuracy of about 70 parts per million. To address your question of challenges in designing the ...

29

"...the time value received wouldn't be accurate insofar as I know GPS receivers aren't able to determine their position until they've got accurate time." The time value isn't used to tell the receiver what time it is (at least not directly, although that is helpful later). It's used so that the receiver can tell relatively what the distance is to each ...

23

The official time zone is GMT, or UTC. As for the number of times they could celebrate, well, that's a bit tricky. The station goes towards the east, which is actually backward in time. There are a total of 38 time zones (Yikes!), spread from UTC +14 to UTC -12. Of course, the ISS would have to be in that particular time zone. The max is likely around 16-...

22

Modern technology doesn't change the major constraints of rocket propulsion significantly. In the absence of a gravity assist, the most fuel-efficient route from Earth to Pluto is approximately a 45-year journey. Bringing that down to 9 years already represents a large investment in propulsion fuel; New Horizons set the record for the highest launch speed ...

21

Like many armed forces, and Stack Exchange, they use UTC (or Zulu time) Historically, Greenwich Mean Time was accepted as being the definitive time zone in 1884 to aid navigation (which then, as now, relied on accurate time) - and the Prime Meridian was defined as running through Greenwich at 0 degrees Longitude. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) succeeded ...

21

The approach taken by Voyager Golden Record is through use of pulsars. Unlike the insane exponents needed to utilize microscopic physical phenomena or planck time, pulsars operate on ~1 second timescale, which makes them quite convenient. A map specifiying location of Earth in relation to a number of pulsars identified through ratios between their ...

20

It's not just launches. It's, well, everything. It drives me nuts! Spacecraft flight software almost always have the capability to execute uplinked commands based on time. But what time scale? The operational control systems for spacecraft almost always have the ability to issue timed commands to spacecraft. But what time scale? The various mission planning ...

18

Neil DeGrasse Tyson says that Scott Kelly is now 1/100 second younger than he would have been otherwise, which almost certainly isn't enough to alter the birth order of the two; I don't know which of the two was born first.

17

The time dilation of the Moon relative to Earth is dominated by not being as deep in the gravitational field of Earth. Not so much the velocity of the Moon. Though the velocity effect isn't negligible, being about two orders of magnitude down from the gravity effect. Time passes about 0.66 parts per billion faster on the Moon than on Earth, due to not ...

17

To give a big picture view of how the GPS solution is determined, consider the following equation: $\rho_i = \sqrt{(x_i-x_u)^2+(y_i-y_u)^2+(z_i-z_u)^2} +c\Delta t$ where $\rho$ is essentially a range from the user to the GPS satellite, $x,y,z$ are position coordinates, the subscript $i$ indicates the particular satellite, $c$ is the speed of light, and $\... 17 From my answer to Parker Solar Probe passing extremely close to the Sun; what relativistic effects will it experience and how large will they be?: From here (or here if you are ambitious) the lowest order terms to the relativistic frequency shift of a clock in orbit around a gravitational body are:$\$ \frac{\Delta f}{f} \approx -\frac{\Phi}{c^2} - \frac{v^2}...

16

In the case of Falcon 9 / Orbcomm OG2 launch from SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL that's now scheduled for Dec. 20th at 8:29 p.m. EST (01:29 a.m. UTC), according to Spaceflight Now: Sources said only an instantaneous launch opportunity is available Sunday due to restrictions imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration, which may be ...

16

No, the power collected by solar panels is reduced by the square of the distance from the light source. At the Earth's distance from the sun, the energy of sunlight is about 1300 watts per square meter, of which something like ~30% can be converted to electricity by solar panels. Once the sun is far enough away to be "just another star", the total ...

16

Avoiding leap seconds is easy, don't launch at June 30th or December 31st when a leap second is announced, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_second It is difficult to test if leap seconds during a launch may cause problems: leap seconds occur only once or rarely twice a year, but there have been a lot of years without leap seconds. In this century, ...

15

TL;DR: For all practical purposes except milliarcsecond radio astronomy, TAI and GPS time are separated by exactly 19 seconds. TAI and GPS time both attempt to represent time as ticked by an ideal clock at mean sea level on the surface of the Earth. Both differ from UT1, time as ticked by the Earth's rotation (this is the source of leap seconds), and ...

15

I was interested in the bonus question and decided to do an ad-hoc survey using ISS Tracker in historical mode. I entered the appropriate 2020-01-01 00:00:00 for each apparently relevant time zone (-11 through +13 and the likely half-hour time zones I could find--less than all 38). My analysis shows that the ISS astronauts could have celebrated one and a ...

15

Some basics: Every planet, moon or asteroid have their own rotation period along some specific axis. In very good approximation the period is constant (but not exactly). So every celestial body has own daylength. All planets and asteroids have different periods of rotation around the Sun. So different yearlengths. All Most known regular moons of planets ...

14

According to JPL's Voyager FAQ: There is no clock chip, as such, in the spacecraft. The "clock" is really a counter, based on one of several electronically generated frequencies. These frequencies, based on a reference, generated by a very stable oscillator, are converted and fed to different locations in the spacecraft as synchronization signals, ...

14

While it is true that just about everything uses UTC on the ISS, the crew's schedule moves around. For example, if there is an upcoming EVA that must be done at a particular time, or a spacecraft arrival/departure scheduled, ground control will adjust the sleep cycle of the crew over several days. Thus the "day" as defined on the station by when the crew ...

13

From the Wikipedia page on Martian timekeeping: The term sol is used by planetary astronomers to refer to the duration of a solar day on Mars.[7] A mean Martian solar day, or "sol", is 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35.244 seconds.[6] “Sol” is often used as a direct replacement for “Day” when concerning Mars. Mission duration for Mars missions is ...

13

The wake/sleep cycle actually does use GMT. It was chosen as a compromise between Moscow time and Houston time. That permits times for meetings between the ISS crew and personnel in either city during some of their normal working hours.

12

Virtually all spacecraft use one of two time conventions, or more likely, both of these Universal Time Coordination (UTC) GPS Time The difference between these two is slight, but changes periodically. The difference is currently 16 seconds, as can be seen on this clock. The reason for the difference is the failure for GPS time to keep track of leap seconds ...

12

The Alcubierre bubble could get to Alpha Centauri in less than 4 years according to outside observers, not just observers riding inside the bubble--the exact time depends on the exact 'shape' of the warped spacetime in the bubble, but the theory allows you to fine-tune the bubble to give as short a time as desired. The fact that observers outside the bubble ...

12

A "sol" is only commonly used for a Martian day, and it seems pretty redundant to use this term for Earth, as it is already covered by the concept 'day'. Also, it may induce ambiguity, as people think you are referring to a Martian day. As for the other planets in the inner solar system, Mercury and Venus, they have a so long day that their orbital period ...

12

The satellites' location is very accurately determined using ranging techniques, where a pulse is sent from a ground station to the satellite and the satellite responds very quickly, with a known time between receive/transmit. This allows one to determine exactly how far away the satellite is. Combining this information with orbital tracks allows one to ...

12

Like a lot of things that should be readily available, it's frustratingly difficult to find this on any NASA web site. Fortunately ESA came to the rescue in the form of a blog post about Alexander Gerst. The crew's schedule is shown onboard using a PC tool called OSTPV (Onboard Short Term Plan Viewer). Gerst was nice enough to post a screenshot of this for ...

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