Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Agriculture Atmosphere Biosphere Cryosphere

Recent Imagery

You will be directed to the NASA Visible Earth webpage when you select Images by Mission below, or click on the images at right that are randomly generated to represent four out of all possible topics.

You are here

Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)

Click image for alternate view

Status: Current, Extended Mission
Mission Category: ESSP
Launch Date: March 17, 2002
Launch Location: Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission enables the most precise measurements of Earth's mean and time-variable gravity field ever obtained and should lead to advances in the fields of hydrology (continental and regional water balance, monitoring changes in aquifers), oceanography (studying ocean currents, ocean heat flux, ocean bottom pressure, sea-level rise), and solid-Earth sciences.

Key Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Facts

Mission/Portal Page: http://science.nasa.gov/missions/grace/
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 485km
Inclination: 89°
Origination: Joint with Germany
Instruments: GPS (Black-Jack Global Positioning System Receiver)
HAIRS (High-Accuracy Inter-satellite Ranging System)
SCA (Star Camera Assembly)
SSA (SuperStar Accelerometer)
USO (Ultra Stable Oscillator)
Project Scientist(s): Bryon Tapley
Deputy Project Scientist(s): Frank Flechtner

Related Publications:

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Climate Variability and Change
  • Earth Surface and Interior
  • Water and Energy Cycles

Relevant Science Questions:

  • How does the Earth system respond to natural and human-induced changes?
  • How is the global Earth system changing?
  • What are the primary forcings of the Earth system?

Science Goals:

  • Primary goal: Provide global, high-resolution estimates of the constant and time-variable part of Earth's gravity field, with unprecedented accuracy.
  • Secondary goal: Measure several hundred global atmospheric profiles per day to determine how GPS measurements are distorted by Earth's atmosphere and ionosphere.

Related Applications:

  • Disaster Management
  • Water Management