Two sportscar-sized satellites in orbit to measure Earth's water

Commercial satellites deployed by SpaceX rocket

Called GRACE-FO, for short, the mission will detect the movement of Earth's water masses and changes in mass within the planet by measuring variations in gravity through tiny fluctuations in the distance between the two satellites as they orbit 137 miles (220 kilometers) apart - roughly the distance between Los Angeles and San Diego - at an altitude of about 304 miles (490 kilometers).

This first-stage booster has flown once before, a little more than four months ago when it launched the Zuma mission for the USA government-a satellite or spacecraft that was apparently lost in space after it failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Groundwater, oceans, lakes, rivers and ice sheets will be monitored by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), a joint mission between the United States space agency and German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). The two satellites, about the size of a sports auto, will fly in tandem 137 miles apart in a 305-mile orbit around Earth's poles.

SpaceX's recovery ship, Mr Steven is heading out into the ocean to attempt to catch at least one half of the expensive shell used to protect spacecraft during the early phases of launch. Two of those included new Earth-observing satellites from NASA.

The GRACE-FO satellites are also joined by five Iridium satellites on the Falcon 9.

Syria Rejects US Demand for Iranian Pullout
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says none of the fatalities were Syrian nationals but foreign fighters. The strikes targeted "movements" of pro-government forces, near the T2 oil pumping station, the Observatory said.

The fairings landing in the Pacific Ocean after deploying parachutes to slow their descent. Viewers will be able to watch the lift off and separation of the satellites, but SpaceX will not be recovering this older booster as it shifts its focus to the final version of its workhorse rocket. -German science satellites created to study the movement of water masses across the Earth. They are the replacement for the original GRACE mission, which ended operations in 2017, fifteen years after it first began. Then the lower, leading satellite will be raised into the same orbit as the higher, trailing satellite. The May 22 launch grows the constellation to 55 Iridium Next satellites in orbit. An additional six spares will remain on the ground until needed.

GRACE-FO will spend the next five years mapping Earth's gravity to study the effects of climate change around the world.

"If mass changes on the ground, like in aquifers or melting glaciers or in the oceans and so on, we see it immediately in a range change, which we measure very, very precisely by a microwave tracking system with a precision of about one micrometer", said Frank Flechtner, GRACE-FO project manager at the German Research Centre for Geosciences, or GFZ.

NASA's share of the GRACE-FO mission cost is $430 million.

Related News:



Most liked

Red Sox designate slugger Hanley Ramirez for assignment
The situation is an odd turn in a season in which Ramirez began as a force in the middle of the AL East-leading Red Sox's lineup . His defense at first base is also below average, and the Red Sox have a former Gold Glover at the position in Mitch Moreland .

Hawaii volcano overwhelms neighborhood with river of molten misery
Tam Hunt took photos Monday of his neighbor's house, showing the ominous cracks splitting the ground under the home. Scientists said Tuesday that lava from the volcano was causing "fireworks-like explosions" as it entered the ocean.

Disgraced Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein charged with rape, sex abuse
The charges might not be the only ones Weinstein faces. "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women, with some of the allegations dating back decades.

United States has 'complete confidence' in probe conclusion that Russian missile downed MH17
Of the 298 people of more than 30 nationalities killed, 196 were Dutch, 42 Malaysian and 27 Australian. Prosecutors stopped short of saying who actually fired the fatal shot.

Ryan Reynolds reveals battle with depression
The plot for the film revolves around six billionaires who fake their own deaths and form an elite team to take down bad guys. The script was written by Reese and Wernick, who wrote Deadpool 1 and 2, as well as Zombieland and its upcoming sequel.

Trump doubles down on "Spygate" claims
When asked outright if the intelligence community spied on Trump and his campaign, Clapper said, "No, we did not". Shortly after 9:30 a.m., he fired off a two-word message in all capital letters: "WITCH HUNT!"

Portland woman says Amazon Alexa recorded personal conversation, sent it to contact
The Alexa device was not asked record a message and gave no indication that it was sending the audio files to any individual. Upon receiving the call, they immediately unplugged off the devices and reported the unnerving incident to Amazon.

'Racist' Trump Pardons First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion
But he believes Trump's motives were genuine, and he's genuinely happy for Haywood and other descendants of Johnson. Trump signed the pardon at a desk with a large, ornate World Boxing Council title belt propped up in front of him.

Mohamed Salah's boots go on display in British Museum
Germany national team manager Joachim Löw has hailed Mohamed Salah ahead of the UEFA Champions League final . Salah has had an incredible season this year. "He has the quality, the world-class experience already".

Leaders campaigning for June 7 election in north, southwest and Toronto today
"The difference is, we will begin the decommissioning process immediately, which will bring more jobs to the area - as opposed to the Liberal plan, which is to mothball that facility for 30 years and allow the next generation to figure out the decommissioning", she said.

Apple’s New Privacy Portal Lets You Download All Your Personal Data
Either you can obtain a copy of your data, correct the stored data, deactivate or delete your account . Apple will verify all deletion and deactivation requests to keep users safe from abuse.

Ireland abortion referendum: 'Yes' campaigners get behind #hometovote with generous cash offers
Shauna Stanley says the debate on abortion and women's bodies happening in Ireland is relevant across the world. Yes vote supporters at a Diaspora Downunder Dollars for Choice event in Melbourne.

Nipah kills one more in Kerala; public meetings banned, exams put off
The health department also advised people to avoid consuming fruits that are half-eaten by bats or birds. Treatment for human cases is management treatment along with intensive supportive care.

Judge sides with parents, boots adult son from NY home
Rotondo contends he's owed a six-month notice. [Michael] noted that microphones placed by the media were on the lawyer's podium. The Rotondos are scheduled to hash it out again in court later this month, about seven weeks before their son's 31st birthday.

Why Carlo Ancelotti could get Antonio Conte sacked
Massimiliano Allegri has been touted as a possible successor but seems content with life at Juventus . Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentis thanked Sarri for his time at the club.