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.
In 15 years of operations, the GRACE satellite mission has revolutionized our view of how water moves and is stored on Earth.
GRACE measures changes in the local pull of gravity as water shifts around Earth due to changing seasons, weather and climate processes.
Among other innovations, GRACE gave us the first space-based view of water beneath Earth's surface, giving insight into where aquifers may be shrinking or dry soils contributing to drought.
The GRACE Follow-On mission will extend GRACE's innovative measurements.
March 17, 2017 - 15th Anniversary of the launch of the twin satellites October 27, 2017 - Science Mission Completed
- Microwave K-band ranging instrument
- Global Positioning System receivers