NASA to Host a Pre-Launch Briefing for their GRACE-FO Mission

NASA will be hosting a pre-launch briefing for their Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), the space agency’s latest Earth-observing satellite mission. The briefing will be held on Thursday, May 17, and the launch itself will take place on Saturday, May 19. They will both air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

GRACE-FO  is a joint mission with the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), and will give us critical measurements that will be used in conjunction with other data to observe the movement of water masses across the planet and mass changes within Earth itself. Watching changes in ice sheets and glaciers, underground water storage, and sea level will offer a unique view of Earth’s climate and will have far-reaching benefits. The mission is planned to fly for at least five years.

The prelaunch news briefing will be held at 2 p.m. EDT May 17 at Vandenberg. Media and the public also may ask questions during the event using social media with the hashtag #askNASA.

Briefing participants include:

  • David Jarrett, GRACE-FO program executive in the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters
  • Frank Webb, GRACE-FO project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • Frank Flechtner, GRACE-FO project manager at GFZ
  • Phil Morton, NASA GRACE-FO project manager at JPL
  • Jennifer Haden, weather officer for the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg

The satellites are set to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 4:04 p.m. EDT May 19 from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. GRACE-FO will share its ride to orbit with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites as part of a commercial rideshare agreement. Launch coverage starts at 3:30 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

JPL manages the GRACE-FO mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. GFZ contracted GRACE-FO launch services from Iridium, and SpaceX is providing the Falcon 9 launch service.

For more information on public launch viewing visit:



Image Credit: NASA images / NASA


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