Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On

Artist rendering of GRACE-FO spacecraft Artist rendering of GRACE-FO spacecraft

GRACE Follow-on (GRACE-FO) will continue the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission's legacy of tracking Earth's water movement to monitor changes in underground water storage, the amount of water stored in large lakes and rivers, soil moisture, ice sheets and glaciers, and sea level caused by the addition of water to the ocean. These discoveries provide a unique view of Earth's climate and have far-reaching benefits to society and the world's population.

Image credit: Astrium

Mission Summary

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which began orbiting Earth on March 17, 2002. GRACE-FO will carry on the extremely successful work of its predecessor while testing a new technology designed to dramatically improve the already remarkable precision of its measurement system.

The GRACE missions measure variations in gravity over Earth's surface, producing a new map of the gravity field every 30 days. Thus, GRACE shows how the planet's gravity differs not only from one location to another, but also from one period of time to another.

Scientific Instrument(s)

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

Acronym: GRACE-FO
Type: Orbiter
Status: Future
Launch Date: 2017
Target: Earth