A high-vacuum gate valve for skimmed molecular-beam experiments is described. It is designed with a very short extent of only 10 mm along the molecular-beam axis to minimize the distance between the molecular-beam source and the experiment to provide the maximum molecular flux to the experiment. At the same time it provides free space on both sides of the skimmer to not disturb the supersonic expansion in front of the skimmer, to give optical access to the full distance between beam source and skimmer, and to allow for placing electrostatic devices very close behind the skimmer. The gate valve allows to maintain high-vacuum conditions (108mbar) in the experimental chamber while the source chamber is brought up to atmospheric pressure for modifications or maintenance. The valve can be operated from outside the vacuum chamber while maintaining vacuum conditions in all chambers.

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