The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On) twin-satellites was successfully launched on May 22, 2018 at 21:47 CEST from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. The twin orbiters shared a ride to space with five Iridium Next communications satellites.
GRACE-FO consists of two satellites orbiting the earth, constantly measuring the distance to each other. Researchers will use their data to monitor water balance of the earth in order to estimate the consequences of climate change.
STT has developed and delivered the S-Band TMTC-unit for both satellites.
Ground stations have already acquired signals from both GRACE-FO spacecraft and initial telemetry shows the satellites are performing as expected.