The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which orbited Earth from 2002-2017. GRACE-FO will carry on the extremely successful work of its predecessor while testing a new technology designed to dramatically improve the already remarkable precision of its measurement system. 

GRACE-FO, which launched May 22, 2018, will continue the work of tracking Earth's water movement to monitor changes in underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, soil moisture, ice sheets and glaciers, and sea level caused by the addition of water to the ocean. These discoveries provide a unique view of Earth's climate and have far-reaching benefits to society and the world's population.

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Disasters Applications

  • The laser ranging interferometer (LRI) instrument has been successfully switched on aboard the recently launched twin U.S./German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) satellites. (
  • The GRACE-FO satellites are nearly identical. The Microwave Interferometer (MWI) will measure the minute variations in distance between the spacecraft. Accelerometers will record forces on the spacecraft other than gravity, such as atmospheric drag and solar radiation. GPS will keep track of the spacecraft position relative to Earth's surface.(
  • GRACE-FO Shows the Weight of Midwestern Floods. In May 2019, after the wettest 12 months ever recorded in the Mississippi River Basin, the region was bearing the weight of 8 to 12 inches (200 to 300 millimeters) more water than average. New data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, which launched in May 2018, showed that there was an increase in water storage in the river basin, extending east around the Great Lakes. (
  • GRACE-FO Will Help Monitor Droughts. GRACE Follow-On's measurements of changes in water stored underground will be used in producing the U.S. Drought Monitor's weekly maps, one of the nation's most important tools for tracking drought nationwide. One of the few exceptions was Matt Rodell, now chief of the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Rodell had recently done his doctoral research on how the new GRACE data could be used for monitoring underground water. (