Press Releases

NASA Television Updates Coverage of Earth-Observing Satellite Duo Launch

Media are invited to cover the prelaunch briefing and launch of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), NASA’s latest Earth-observing satellite mission. The briefing, now scheduled for Monday, May 21, and launch no earlier than Tuesday, May 22, will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website

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

The prelaunch news briefing will be held at 1:30 p.m. EDT (10:30 a.m. PDT) May 21 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Media who wish to participate by phone must contact Elena Mejia at or 818-354-1712, no later than 1 p.m. May 21. 

Media and the public also may ask questions during the event via social media using the hashtag #askNASA.  

Briefing participants will be:

  • 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 
  • Capt. Jennifer Haden, weather officer for the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg

The satellites are targeted to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:47 p.m. EDT May 22 from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg. GRACE-FO will share its ride to orbit with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites as part of a commercial rideshare agreement.

Launch coverage begins at 3:15 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.

More information on public launch viewing, as well as media coverage opportunities and logistics, is available at:

Join the conversation online and follow GRACE-FO on Twitter and Facebook at:





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