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posted by martyb on Saturday September 15 2018, @08:31AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Amazing-GRACE dept.

GRACE-FO Satellite Switching to Backup Instrument Processing Unit

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission team plans to switch to a backup system in the Microwave Instrument (MWI) on one of the twin spacecraft this month. Following the switch-over, GRACE-FO is expected to quickly resume science data collection.

A month after launching this past May, GRACE-FO produced its first preliminary gravity field map. The mission has not acquired science data since mid-July due to an anomaly with a component of the Microwave Instrument on one of the GRACE-FO spacecraft. The mission team is completing its investigation into the cause of the anomaly.

The primary science objective of GRACE-FO -- like its predecessor GRACE, which operated from 2002 to 2017 -- is to track how water is redistributed on Earth, by producing highly accurate, monthly gravity field maps. Measurements of changes in Earth's gravity field provide measurements of mass change and enable unique insights into Earth's changing climate, Earth system processes like droughts and sea level changes, and the impacts of human activities on water resources.

Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment.

Previously: Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Ends, "Follow-On" Launching Soon
SpaceX to Launch 5 Iridium Next and 2 GRACE Satellites Today: Tuesday May 22 @ 19:47:58 UTC


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Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Ends, "Follow-On" Launching Soon 5 comments

A NASA and German Aerospace Center mission using two spacecraft to map the strength of Earth's gravitational field has come to an end:

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission has come to an end after more than 15 years in Earth orbit. The twin satellites chronicled the changes of the Earth's water, ice, and land since the spacecraft were launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on March 17, 2002, on a mission that was originally only slated to last some five years. More than a decade after that, GRACE was still beaming data back to Earth when a technical issued forced mission planners to close out the program.

Similar in some aspects to other missions launched, GRACE made precise measurements via the two spacecraft – GRACE-1 and GRACE-2 – that comprised the mission. For GRACE's overall scientific objectives to be achieved the two satellites both had to be fully functional. However, this past September (2017), GRACE-2 encountered a battery issue that made it clear by mid-October that the battery would not allow scientists to operate its science instruments and telemetry transmitter. It was decided to decommission GRACE-2 and, in so doing, end GRACE's scientific mission.

[...] GRACE helped detail how our home world's changing seasons move water, ice, and even land (as a result of surface water mass changes) across the planet's surface, providing researchers with a better understanding of what drives the motion of these substances. Earth's climate, earthquakes, and our own activities all play their part in shaping the face of our world and GRACE provided insights into the dynamics of this change.

SpaceX to Launch 5 Iridium Next and 2 GRACE Satellites Today: Tuesday May 22 @ 19:47:58 UTC 14 comments

Spaceflightnow reports on the next launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket (11 hours from the time this story posts):

Falcon 9 • Iridium Next 51-55 & GRACE Follow-On
Launch time: 1947:58 GMT (3:47:58 p.m. EDT; 12:47:58 p.m. PDT)
Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch five satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet and two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE Follow-On) satellites for NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). The Falcon 9 rocket will launch with a previously-flown first stage.

As it usually does, SpaceX has a live feed page up on YouTube which also notes:

A backup instantaneous launch opportunity is available on Wednesday, May 23 at 12:42 p.m. PDT, or 19:42 UTC.

[...] SpaceX will not attempt to recover Falcon 9's first stage after launch.


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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15 2018, @08:47AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15 2018, @08:47AM (#735238)

    The mission has not acquired science data since mid-July due to an anomaly with a component of the Microwave Instrument on one of the GRACE-FO spacecraft.

    Let me guess, the cause will turn out to be Global Warming.
    Or the limited size for a block in the blockchain
    Or maybe somebody drilled a 2mm hole in the chip and now the plug dried up and fell.
    No? Then Trump for sure. Or better still Hillary. Or SJW. Or the incels. Or corporations

    I give up, it's useless.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15 2018, @11:05PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15 2018, @11:05PM (#735462)

    They probably used lead-free solder on the circuit boards.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17 2018, @05:04PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17 2018, @05:04PM (#736060)

      They probably used lead-free solder on the circuit boards.

      Yeah, well, that doesn't apply here. Too early. Learn a little.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17 2018, @09:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17 2018, @09:08PM (#736190)

        You need to learn about the rules of spit balling. It's fine to criticize another theory, but you also have to put up your own. I'm sure RoHS solder can fail after any number of thermal cycles. What I don't know is if they actually used it.

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