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GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) mission is a joint project between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR). The twin satellites were built by Astrium and launched together with a Rockot in 2002, the mission is operated by the German Satellite Operations Centre and after ten years the mission is still producing outstanding results.

The primary science objective of GRACE is to measure the Earth's gravity field and it's time variability with unprecedented accuracy. The secondary science objective is to obtain approximately 150 very precise globally distributed vertical temperature and humidity profiles of the atmosphere per day using the GPS radio occultation technique.

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GRACE - Planned switch-on of MWA / ICU

21 October 2016

The GRACE-A and -B Microwave Assemblies (MWA) and the GRACE-A Accelerometer Instrument Control Unit (ICU) have been switched-on again.

GRACE operational issue: Planned switch-off of MWA/ICU

06 September 2016

The GRACE-A and -B Microwave Assemblies (MWA) and Accelerometer Instrument Control Units (ICU) have been switched-off on 03 September 2016, 12:12 UTC.

Both activities are related to battery load reduction.

The switch-on of both MWAs and ICUs is planned for approximately beginning of October 2016.

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Facts and figures
Operators German Satellite Operations Centre (GSOC)
Date of launch: 17 February 2002
Status: Mission status regularly updated at UTCSR
Orbit Height 447 km (as of 29 Mar 2012)
Orbit Type Near-polar (89.5 degrees)
Onboard Sensors provided under TPM - GPS receiver
- Star camera sensors
- Accelerometer system
- K-Band satellite-to-satellite tracking system
- Laser Retro-reflector