Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment

Mission Summary

An award-winning mission that's changed the way we study Earth's gravitational forces, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, mission flies twin spacecraft in tandem around Earth to study key changes in the planet's waters and ice sheets.

In 2011, the gravity measurement technique pioneered by GRACE, which works by measuring changes in the push and pull between the twin spacecraft as they orbit Earth, was put to use on NASA's twin GRAIL spacecraft embarking on an ambitious mission to study the gravitational forces of Earth's moon.

Scientific Instrument(s)

- Microwave K-band ranging instrument
- Accelerometers
- Global Positioning System receivers

Acronym: GRACE
Type: Orbiter
Status: Current
Launch Date: March 17, 2002
12:21 p.m. MSK (09:21 UTC)
Launch Location: Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
Target: Earth
Current Location: Orbit type: Polar orbit
Altitude: 500 kilometers (311 miles)
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