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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: Planned switch-off of MWA

03 July 2017

The GRACE-A and B Microwave Assemblies (MWA) have been switched-off on 29 June 2017 13:40 UTC (GRACE-A) and 30 June 2017 18:37 UTC (GRACE-B), respectively. The GRACE-B Accelerometer Instrument Control Unit (ICU) on GRACE-B is off since 24 May 2017, the GRACE-A ICU has been switched-off on 29 June 2017 13:40 UTC.

Both activities are related to battery load reduction.

The switch-on of both MWAs is planned for approximately mid-August 2017.

GRACE operational issue: Planned switch-on and switch-off of Accelerometer Instrument Control Units

07 June 2017

The GRACE-B Accelerometer Instrument Control Unit (ICU) has been switched-on again on 02 May 2017 at 12:08 and switched-off on 24 May 2017 at 18:40.

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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