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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 operational issue: Switch-on of Microwave Assemblies

25 February 2014

Following the planned switch-off of the GRACE-A and -B Microwave Assemblies (MWA) for battery load reduction (see related news of 23 January 2014), both MWAs have been switched-on again on the below dates:

  • 21 February 2014, 07:06 UTC: GRACE-A MWA
  • 23 February 2014, 07:14 UTC: GRACE-B MWA

GRACE operational issue: Planned switch-off of Microwave Assemblies

23 January 2014

The GRACE-A and -B Microwave Assemblies (MWA) have been switched-off on the below dates:

  • 17 January 2014, 11:50 UTC: GRACE-A MWA
  • 19 January 2014, 11:58 UTC: GRACE-B MWA

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Mission Data:

The GRACE Level 1B and Level 2 science data and corresponding documentation is publicly available at the two GRACE archives:

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Facts and figures
Operators German Satellite Operations Centre (GSOC)
Date of launch: 17 February 2002
Status: Operating nominally in 2014 (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