Launching U.S./German GRACE-FO (live broadcast)
Good. Afternoon, everyone, take a look that, is NASA's, next, earth mission, to space on top of a Falcon 9 rocket at, Space, Launch Complex 4e. At Vandenberg. Air Force Base in California, inside. Are the twin satellites, of Grace follow on a mission, that will add to our understanding of. Earth's ever-changing. Water cycle, there. Are lots, of eyes on this launch we have cameras, on the pad and multiple. Teams of people in the SpaceX, control, room in Hawthorne, California and, Mission Support people here at Vandenberg we, have folks watching in the earth orbiting, mission Operations, Center at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Pasadena, California. This is their mission - and, we. Have cameras, at the German Space Operations Center. Outside. Of Munich that's G sock G, sock will be the base of Mission Operations of grace follow-on, because. This mission, is a German, and u.s. partnership, between, NASA, and the German, Research Center for. Geosciences. And you, know what the weather seems to be cooperating, for, today's launch the 30th, Space, Wing weather, squadron, here. At Vandenberg tells, us things. Are looking, good there, is only a small chance, of Violation, less than 10% which. Means were, 90, percent a go for launch ground. Winds out of the southwest, are the only concern, but overall it's. Simply, a gorgeous. Day to launch a rocket. Hello. Everyone I'm je Hill with NASA communications. I'll be your, commentator. For, today's launch, broadcast, with. Me is Sammy Paoli he's director, for the Office of safety and mission success at, JPL. But previously. He served as, the deputy project, manager for. Grace follow-on, so he's here to help provide insight, and also. To help us along understanding, what's going on with the launch so. The first question I have is this. Is called, a rideshare can, you explain sure. The. Grace follow-on team was able to establish a, collaborative, cost-sharing. Agreement with. Iridium where we took, capacity. That they had on launch vehicle and NASA. GFC, or would be able to launch the grace follow-on, twin satellites, while, iridium, would be able to launch five of their, communication. Satellites, to satisfy, the constellation. Literally. Sharing. The ride to low-earth orbit. Yes so, this, is also a partnership, between Germany. And the US can, you talk about who, did what sure. The. NASA G of the agreement, actually made, it very clear early on of, the roles and responsibilities. On this mission which made it much simpler for the team to actually focus on their work and get things done as. Far that agreement and JPL was responsible, for the development and. Build and test of the two spacecraft, and. Also, the build of the microwave instrument, and the, laser, ranging, interferometer. The, great. G, of Z was responsible, for the, launch, vehicle, service. And also the mission operations, and, also the optical, components, that go into the laser ranging, interferometer, and we have some video the show of the road to launch for this spacecraft in.
The Video that this, is a video, that this shows, the, the. Construct, or the, fabrication. Of the two spacecraft at, the, iridium facility, and Germany, in Friedrichshafen, Germany. These. Are very delicate spacecraft. Of course that rely on very. Precise measurements. Of of. The gravity field after they're tested, they, were shipped, over, to then de Broglie Air Force Base. For. A completion. Of the overall. Integration. And, into. The multi, satellite, dispenser, that I'll show you in a minute this, is the air force personnel actually, helping us offload, the, spacecraft, this, is at the Harris processing, facility, here at Vandenberg where, we processed. The spacecraft, you see them unloaded. Here on the multi satellite dispenser, which allows them to be deployed, at. The same time from the launch vehicle. All. Right so throughout, these events, we'll be hearing from, the. The team the SpaceX, launch team but, the team itself will have certain communications. That you'll be hearing on a. Special, network with the team members you're monitoring, it Sammy is monitoring, it for communications. So we will be checking back with you throughout to, get updates, on the mission sure all right thanks Sammy, well. Let's tell you a bit more about the mission now it's called grace follow-on, because, it's following the footsteps of, an, innovative, mission that lasted, 15, years, it. Was called the Gravity, Recovery and climate experiment. Or, grace and grace. Revolutionized. Our understanding of. How water moves around our planet and grace, follow-on, aims to keep the information. Coming, and continue. The, legacy. Water. Is one of the main indicators. Of how the, planet, is responding, to our evolving, climate, we. Build our civilization around. The climate that we had and the water resources, that we have and if those are changing, that can have a profound impact on how we operate, our society. Grace. And grace follow on measure the motion of water around the earth and they measure that in all forms, of water water that's stored underground water, in the ocean water that's frozen in the form of glaciers so all of that together grace, can measure. Grace. Fall one is a mission to measure. How, water, is, distributed, on, the planet and how that changes, from month to month grace stands for Gravity, Recovery and, climate experiment. It's a follow-on mission to this mission called grace that. We launched in 2002. And that mission just ended a few months ago and grace fall is going to pick up and continue that science legacy even though grace flew for 15 years climate. Is one of those things which takes place on decadal. Timescales, it's really important that we look at these trends over longer, time for so we can establish the. Forces, which are driving them. One, follows, the other and, between them they accurately. Track, a distance. Between the two satellites and, as they fly, over, changes. In mass, on the earth they move back and forth and we track those little changes very, accurately, and we do that with Global Positioning System, satellite, information and, with star cameras, that are on board the two spacecraft, I. Think. There's an increasing, awareness and. Consciousness. Around. The earth. All. These have, long-term ramifications. On. How we live, the. Grace all, our measurements, give us very clear, and tangible information so, we can make sound decisions in, the future of how we manage our resources. Now. There, wouldn't even be a, grace follow-on, had the original mission, not been such, a game changer with, me now is Frank Webb he's the project scientist, for grace follow-on, what. Exactly, did we learn from grace, so, grace was very revolutionary in. That it provided. Us with the first global comprehensive, view of how our water system, where how our water cycle works from the global water, cycle is a very important component. Of our, complex, climate. System, so, we have video of some of the things we saw over a 15, year period we, can roll that video right now what, did you see here so in this in this in this map. We just seen our global water trends, and the, water cycle is composed of many components and that's water in different reservoirs, on earth it's water locked up it's ice water in the ground is groundwater water, in the oceans and rivers in, the soil.
In, Floodplains, and, so, with grace we're able to over 15 years look at the trends, in those waters and those water reservoirs, and see, whether they're gaining, or losing water, mass essentially, and you. Know in this in this chart, here you can also see you know some of the big, changes, and this, is in Greenland Africa let's. Talk about that the big change is the big surprises, or was that a surprise well. So when. When, grace was launched we knew that you know mass, moves and, in ice, sheets inand, in, oceans, you know game water or lose water we know exactly how much was hatch was being lost even, in Greenland we didn't know what the sign of the change was so, with grace we're able to actually measure, the amount of water that was being lost and, what. The rate was and where in Greenland was being lost so here we have the video. So. In this video you see on the left is an after Greenland and the browner, colors, show places, where more, masses, has been lost from Greenland over the lifetime of grace and, you see there's, a lot of ice, being lost from southern, Greenland it. Gets brown and brown her as the time so he goes on it goes on on, the right you see the plot is for the monthly changes you can see sort of seasonal changes but see overall there's, a there's a overall, loss of mass, in Greenland and it's, losing mass at about 281, Giga tons of water each year, and. Let's talk about that a Giga ton I mean give, me a. Lay person that I do how, much water are we talking about yeah a Giga, tons kind, of a strange unit but some mass units house it's amount of water that would fill a comic. A kilometer, cube of a. Kilometer, cube so. In this animation here you just see a cube, of water a kilometer, each side and we, see here at the end you know there's Empire State Building for for reference so that's one Giga ton and now grace, follow-on. Showed our graces, gives me great showed that Greenland, was losing, 281, Giga. Tons of water a year so. 281. Of those per. Year all right Frank I'm sure you're excited about this moment there's standing bike thanks so much for joining us thank you all right well, it is about 25 minutes past the hour we are keeping our eye on the clock for 1247. Pacific time that is lunchtime but. Meantime let's, talk about some quick facts about grace, follow-on. It. Is. 27. Minutes, past the hour very. Soon now we hope to get a status, report on the satellites, we're, having, Sammy listening, for us on the team to find out some important, information right. Around this period from, t 22, t 16, is kind, of an important moment for the team is it not it is no this is a time where we of course we hear of confirmation, from the launch vehicle that the propellant loading is continuing. The, liquid. Oxygen loading. Is initiated. And then also we hear confirmations. Of commitments, from the launch team from the grace follow-on launch team about, the status of their system, and readiness for launch so every, minute or so in the next couple of minutes you'll be hearing, from people, in, the control room giving. These status, reports are these goal for launches correct. So every subsystem will report to the grace. Follow-on project manager, for the satellite for, the Mission, Operations Center. And such and they will report to him. The status of availability, of the assets that they have the personnel and the systems are all go forward. For launch and. About t 20 I understand, is that usually the time where they decide to go to internal, power when they go to internal power what does that mean so the spacecraft are now powered, by you they're plugged into a power supply essentially. And T. 20 they're given the order or the command to go to internal power which means the spacecraft, now will, be disconnected, from the external power will be operating on their own internal battery power once, we, get these goes, this. The, the rocket itself and the spacecraft everything. Is automated from this point on it is it not correct, pretty much opera automated. There are of course notifications. Throughout if there is a problem, in the launch vehicle, process, they have, a an. Ability to halt the launch but we don't anticipate that at all everything, has been nominal. On every, measurement that we've seen, and. Have you heard any communications, yeah not yet you will will get confirmation just second all right so as we watch the rocket we are standing, by. All. Right Sammy we do have something now correct, we just received confirmation that, the the. Spacecraft. Are green from that go for launch and, the. Mission Operations Center, is green and go for launch, and that confirmation was provided, to the, launch vehicle.
We'll. Be getting a final confirmation from, the launch vehicle at this point that they are ready for launch all, right okay, standing, by for more. All. Right Sammy as we're standing by one, of the things about this particular launch, this, is an instantaneous. Launch what do we mean by that so. In, order to place the the. Iridium, satellites in particular in the right orbital, plane where they, are actually inserted to complete, a constellation, then. There's. A specific, time that we must launch otherwise, we will have to spend a, very large amount of propellant. In order, to get, the satellites, into the right place, and. Right now it's it's, an instantaneous launch for this for this occasion in. In, normal launches. For or if you do not have to insert the satellite into a constellation, you have a little more leeway you have a little open window but in this case we have to get into those same slot we. Don't make that time then, we just scrub and turnaround it again tomorrow if there are if there is an issue and we are not able to make that time then we'll have to scrub and go for tomorrow tomorrow, will also be another, instantaneous. Launch window all right, standing. By. You. As. We, wait for launch NASA and, the German Research Center for, geosciences. Share the responsibility. For developing, and launching grace. Follow-on, for, the Mission Operations GFC. Subcontracted. The work to the German space agency which operates, the German Space Operations Center. Ji-suk and it's outside of Munich Germany. That is where much, of the grace follow-on, team is right now including, systems. Engineer, Neil, daya who is with us via Skype, hey Neil. How. You doing I'm just fine, so tell people, why so, much of the team is out there in Germany. Okay. Most of a lot of a team is here because this is the Center for where all the communications, from the satellites, are going to come down we, have ground stations, all over the world but this is the Mission. Operations Center. And so all the information is going to come down here so we need experts around, for all the different aspects, of the spacecraft, and Mission, Control here all, right so can you describe to me who's in the room the control room beneath you and what, are their jobs how many people, how many teams are there. We. Got a bunch of teams but the overall people as, Sam you said, earlier we have, GFC. Which is responsible for the Mission Operations and, Mission Operations is, here, as, part of GFC, is responsibility. Geez Hawking deal are responsible. For the flight operations, and this is their mystery control room so a lot of this room is that with the jisang people but. Then Airbus is responsibly, doing the spacecraft, design build and testing of the spacecraft, so all their subsystem, experts, and their management are also here, and, we've got enough people in here to staff two shifts and then on top of that we have JPL, people that are responsible for the overall management we, have JPL, for the instruments. And. Then we have our Quality Assurance people also all, right so Neil we will be checking back with you soon and with. Other members of the G sock team thanks. For joining us for right now. All. Right JPL's. Mike Meacham recently, interviewed Neil, on the unique design, of the grace missions, unlike. Most earth. Serving satellites, which point their instruments, towards our planet the, grace twin satellites, work as one instrument, that, look, at each, other to, see gravitational. Changes on, the surface, you. Have to admit it is some crazy, engineering. Here. On earth we, all know about gravity, but. What you might not realize is, that depending on where you are on the planet the strength of gravity is different. Examples. Up here. Gravity. Is stronger. Water. Also, has mass and the. Earth has a whole lot of water it's moving around it's changing phases if, you can track the change in gravity, you can track the change in mass and that means you're understanding, the movement of water NASA's.
About To send the grace fall on mission which will continue to do just that let's, learn about it on this episode of crazy in here. Okay. Everybody we're here with Neil he's one of the key engineers, on the grace follow-on. Mission Neil. Thank you so much for joining us and answering our questions why, do we call it grace follow-up so gray stands for Gravity, Recovery and climate experiment, we're, using gravity, to track water motion around the planet and the phones because we've done this before and we're doing again with two new satellites, the original grace mission was launched in 2002. They lasted for 15 years and provided amazing. Science for scientists, both. Of these missions have, two satellites, can you explain to us why we need two satellites, instead of just one so, we need two satellites because we're trying to measure very, precise, small amounts of gravity, changes in the earth the. Earth is actually lumpy, when it comes to gravity far away from earth gravity is just a single number but as you get close to the earth the gravity changes, because the Himalayas have a little bit more mass certain. Areas have less mass and, so as a satellite is orbiting the planet as, it comes towards a large mass like the mountains it actually will speed up and then as it leaves it will slow down and so with two satellites, were able to measure the distance between the two how, far apart are, these satellites, and just how precise, do they have to have the knowledge of each other's position, we have the satellites at 200 kilometers apart but we're measuring down to an accuracy of a micron level which is about a tenth of a human hair that is extremely, precise. That sounds like a very hard, engineering problem, what's the technology that lets us do this we're using microwave technologies, at about 30 gigahertz. Here, you see one of the satellites, and 200 kilometers away is the, other satellite, and what we're doing is we're firing an RF signal to. The other satellite, and the other sites measuring, that and as you move backwards. And forwards relative this sine wave you can measure the distance changes, to the levels we need it's. Been well more than a decade since the original grace mission I assume we're upgrading some, of these technologies, can you describe some of those sure, like, technology advances. In general we've upgraded computer, systems we have more efficient solar cells we, have better star cameras, and like, everything else in the future we now have lasers. Yes. What. Do lasers actually get for us so, we're actually using the lasers to do the measurement, between the two satellites we're using RF systems from the previous missions on top of that we have this new technology demonstrator. Where we're going to fire at laser beams between each other to make a more accurate measurement, between the two satellites you, know this is without a doubt one of the coolest missions we've seen thank, you so much for answering our questions when, can we hope to see this launch so, we're hoping to hitch a ride with SpaceX, rocket later this year and we should be collecting science data shortly after that all, right we'll certainly check that out and everyone out there check, back soon for some more crazy, engineering. And. We. Are, looking, at a gorgeous. View of the, rocket right now Sammy what is going on here well, you see the rocket. Readied. For launch and. Right. Now this the. What. Appears like smoke is. Actually. A liquid oxygen vapor. Part. Of the fueling process that, go, through for the Falcon 9 and the. There, is that what's called the strong back, which. Is the, white. Structure. Right next to the rocket that actually helps, hold the rocket in place right. Till. The point of launch and it will be, pulled back. Right. As we go through the countdown. Well. Currently we're, about, just, shy of 7, minutes from launch but, as we get closer and closer to these final minutes before, launch we'd like to take a moment for this message from NASA's, new administrator, Jim.
Burnstein. Well. I'm sorry I can't be at Vandenberg, today it's my pleasure to welcome you all to, another of, NASA's, amazing, earth science, launches, the, grace follow-on, mission to, observe our planet's, ever-changing. Water, cycle, ice, sheets and crust I want. To thank the NASA and commercial, teams that, have gotten us to this point and give, a special shout-out to the many scientists, engineers and technicians who, have worked years, to make, this mission possible, your. Dedication, is remarkable. And it, truly is the kind of spirit, that is carrying our space, program to new heights all the, time our. Philosophy on Mars has been to follow. The water and that, has, relevance. Right, here on earth as well grace, follow-on, data will provide unique insights, into Earth's changing, climate, and it, will have far-reaching benefits, to, society, such, as improving, water resource, management, water. Is critical, to every aspect, of life on Earth for health for agriculture. And for, maintaining our very way of life this. Mission, showcases. A strong partnership, between NASA. And the German, research, for geosciences. While. JPL, manages, the mission for NASA's science Mission Directorate in, Washington, I, look. Forward to seeing many more earth science, missions during, my tenure as NASA Administrator. And working. Closely with the, team as we, study my favorite planet Earth. All. Right you, are looking, at, a shot of the pad we, are just, less than five minutes away from launch and we, are standing, bystanding quiet, to, see how things go, together but, as far as we know things are a go just receive confirmation that. Fuel loading is now complete so, that's, an excellent sign for preparation, for launch all, right and conditions. Look fabulous look. Great weather report. Strong. Back will, be start, to pull it be pulled back now. Strong. Back is what I described, earlier as, what helps hold the rocket up preparation. For launch. Verification. And stage 1 locks close-up. Laura's close-up. Rock. RC countdown one rock, verify, range the screen and go for launch Rangers, green, stage. Two locks locals up. The. Vehicle gas closeout, started, got, closer, a. FPS. Is ready for launch. F9. Isn't startup. LD. Go for launch. T-minus, 30. 20. Play, tanks configured for flight, 15. Hey. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four, three. Two. Follow-on. Race. Mission, of tracking, the movement, of water across our. Planet. There's. One problem. GC. Copies will go GC. Copies. All. Right we have a liftoff Frankie. Powered. Telemetry, nominal. He's. Going up we're gonna have the. First step, is max. That's. The point. As. It's going the atmosphere, right here. So. Just went through max Q. Everything. Is looking good. The. Next stage is the main engine cutoff. As, main engine cutoff is in about 50 seconds. Main. Engine cutoff it's the higher, the. First stage of the rocket will. Stop. Ignition, of course and and. Be. Deployed. See. An image now from. Rocket. Image actually. The, main engine cutoff will be the 15 seconds. You, go we. Have made, a deceleration, confirmed, and stays support separation, has been confirmed. So. The first, stage was. Deployed. Can. See an image from the second stage. Stage. Wanna have two guys has saved. So. It's everything, is nominal. Right. Separating, separation, successfully, and. You can see the grace fallen and the Iridium spacecraft, and now picture, their. Take. Is following an album on trajectory so. Everything. Is going nominal. It's. An image of the second. Stage. So. The second engine will will. Burn for approximately, eight minutes. That. Will get, the. The. Second stage and the both, the radium and grace follow-on stack. Up to the point where grace follow-on will be separated, from from, that stack and. Then. The launch, vehicle the second stage will, continue, on and deploy. The greatly iridium satellites. After. Another burn actually. All. Right so. We have eight minutes until, the. Second. Engine cut off so. We, we're. Going to take some time to introduce, folks, to some, of the members of the team. Well. We wait for the end of the engine burn we thought we would be able, to introduce you to some. Of the project, managers, Phil, Morton of JPL, and German. Research, manager.
Project Manager Frank fleckner, they're, both in the SpaceX. Control, room at Vandenberg, right now they're monitoring, this lunch but we did talk to them earlier about their roles and the stories they tell us about the relationship between, the two teams they. Tell us is a partnership, that goes way, back. The. Data is available and, needs to continue to be available and, how do you use it in a way that helps, or, benefits, where, you live specifically. Because you can really track right to, where you live what the future might be like there. Are tools now to, monitor. And. Estimate. What the future, might be like given. The trends that we see I. Have. The responsibility for, the mission, with. NASA that's. Sort of the way a project, manager role is, defined so. My responsibility. Is that the mission, comes together and, operates, successfully. I have. A counterpart, dr.. Frank fleckner, who. Said, gfz, in. Germany, I was, already the co-pi of the grace mission and I. Became the. BFG. Of the project, manager, for all its German, contributions. To the issue he's. A pleasure to work with he's very knowledgeable on the science data from grace we, talk weekly if not more it's a pleasure to work with somebody that you, can have a straight conversation, with I know Phil, already forms, a great project for, 9899. Say six years ago when we started to implement ways, follow on I was, very happy, to see Phil again to be the LGP graceful. On project, manager, because I know him so long and it's easy to talk with him and and it's. A really different. We've. Taken the best of, their, expertise. Combined. It with the best of ours you put these groups of people together you you, know and make sure that we're all heading down the same path heading. Towards the same goals, everybody's, working so closely together we. Are seamless. Between the teams it really has worked out well we. Are one grace family, we know each other since 1986, 20, years and, so. We all get older, during. The grace lifetime. And, it's a great opportunity, to, run into a grace follow-on, mission with, many, of these old friends. So, as we're standing by for the, end of the second engine burn the, other things that we're focusing. On is is, what. Happens, after, the second engine burn is done, what happens after that, so. The first thing that happens is that the, grace, follow-ons.
Satellites. Are separated. They're they're released, from from the multi satellite dispenser. As. You see here this animation shows the the grace follow-on to satellites being separated, the first thing we want to do is make communication. And make sure that we have contact, with the spacecraft so they will release this s-band antenna. That. Allows us to have, communication. But the, spacecraft, at this stage are a little wobbly I would say so, they. Would have to adjust the. Internal. Propulsion. System we'll make adjustments because, we want the spacecraft, to come in in a. What. We call a safe mode which, points the solar arrays, up to the Sun and the antenna towards Earth and. That will take, a few minutes and then the first pass is going to be over, McMurdo. Station. In, Antarctica. That is the first opportunity that we have communication, with the satellite that is the first opportunity we. Anticipate, that we would have contact, with both spacecraft, at that point but if that doesn't happen because of. Any. Delay in stability of the spacecraft, then we have another opportunity in another 45, minutes what. Kind of communication, are we talking about is it just a ping, saying. I'm here on the line we will actually get a. Health. Report. From the spacecraft that tells us the. Power condition, the computer. Status the communication. Condition, pretty, much everything, that we, need to know about the health of the, spacecraft at that point so. How far off are we from main engine, cutoff then main engine cutoff, occurs. In. About. Looks, like it about. Ten. Eight nine minutes. Okay. So. We are standing by. Cook, l OS expected. Tiko. No parking, orbit insertion. Did. We lose the feed. So. We are looking for second, engine cutoff and a signal, for second engine cutoff and that's a critical period because, that. Is when, the. Satellites, will be deployed, correct. The separation. Will occur right after, main, engine cutoff. Right. After the main engine cutoff we. Should we will be getting confirmation. Separation. From. The launch vehicle actually.
From. The team correct. They had successful, separation. And. Then after that. In. About 10 seconds and then after, that we will wait. For establishing. Communications, over McMurdo, will. We be able to actually, see the satellites, deploy there's a good view actually, we're, hoping that we will be able to get a glimpse of the glace grace follow-on, still, a look deployed confirmed, the. Deployment, of the grace follow-on spacecraft, was deployed that's, confirmed, deployed, successfully. Excitement. In the rooms here we. Could hear them yes. There. They are. That. Is the, e Mach at JPL, yeah. We. Have folks, here. In the MDC, here at Vandenberg Air, Force Base. So. Far so good, excellent, excellent, performance. Now. The, second. Stage of the launch vehicle continues. On to deploy the iridium satellites. To. Do it does and we wish them the best of luck for that all right the, appointment of the five Iridium satellites. So. Now we have to wait for the, satellite, the grace follow-on. Spacecraft. To stabilize. And. I'm. Getting a message okay. We're, getting some communication. It. Was another confirmation for the successful deployment. So. We have confirmation, that both grace, satellites, have indeed, then correct. Both, grace on grace follow-on satellites, or spacecraft were, deployed successfully and. Now. The spacecraft, will be stabilizing. In. Their orbit they'll, be getting away from from, each other, that's natural. Movement. That we intended, for the spacecraft to do, and. Once. The, communication. Is established, after, over McMurdo, we, will know exactly what altitude, they're, in and what adjustments additional. Adjustments, may may need to take place however. The spacecraft, in. The mode that they come on once. They're released. They're. In the safe mode so the solar. Arrays face the face. The Sun and the, antenna, faces the. Antenna. Faces earth. All. Right. So, things are looking good thing, too low that's all okay. Throughout, this period we will have check, out all the of, the spacecraft. So, we'll go through, internal. Checks on the spacecraft and then once who is communication. Is established we'll go through extensive checkout, for the spacecraft of conditioning, and preparation. For start. Of the instrumentation. So, it's going to be another, 20, minutes or so before, we expect. To have that acquisition, of, signal 1:8, the, spacecraft, goes over, after. Separation we have about 20, min 22 minutes actually to. Get, signal and that period, lasts, about 6 minutes over McMurdo, and we, have to make contact. With both spacecraft. And there. Is a period of time where we have to. Adjust. The antenna the ground antenna to track the second spacecraft, also alright, next, key moment, yeah can't wait all, right thanks Danny we've. Been introducing. You to members of the team and here is another one hui yang Winn she's an MIT, grad, and arts lover and a. JPL, science, applications. Engineer, she's, part of the JPL team currently, supporting. The mission at the German Space Operations Center, near Munich we spoke to her in March about the work she's currently doing I. Work. On spacecraft. That. Measure how. Much water there is anywhere. On the earth that's. What it doesn't one-sentence because.
Water Doesn't just disappear if. It's not on this part of the world it probably moved somewhere else so. We're tracking, to. See where all the water is on the planet, this. Mission is so simple. It doesn't even matter whether there's satellites or rocks all, you do is just toss them so that they're in orbit, around the planet and. If you can measure, accurately the, distance, between them, I'm. Still amazed, that we, can do an extremely. Simple measurement, like that and have, it tell us so much. You. Really have to. Sort. Of entirety, your own morals, and and, your own reasons, for what. You do because it's pretty intensively. Impactful. Work in extremely, different ways it's. Not just about doing. The math and doing the programming, look, at the data we're taking right we're, assessing, water. Levels, when, you look at water levels you can figure out where there are severe, droughts for. Us it's just a little blip on a map of the earth but, for someone who's living there or trying to you, know farm, or just live, in that area, it's, the. Blip that affects. Their entire, life. Joining. Us now is deputy project scientist. Felix, Lander of JPL you know listening, to who he talked. About what. She does and she, expresses. Herself that, you know what she does is not just looking at ones and zeros as you. Know a person, that's an engineer, on a spacecraft she, sees herself as doing something that's really helping. Us understand, our world do you feel that way - absolutely. Just, like the, original grace mission that grace follow-on, will continue to probe, the earth in a very unique way you, know we're tracking very small, distance, changes between the two satellites and that, in turn allows us to measure, surface, mass changes in particular those related, to water a very vital resource, on the ground give, me an idea what were some of the things that we discovered, and, realize. Before. You. Know we didn't, have grace and now that we do have grace what do we know now that we didn't know then yeah. Over the 15 years we had grace we made a lot of their unique new, measurements, and got. To reveal. Some of the largest mass changes we already saw a few earlier, Greenland. Some. Of the biggest mass changes, we measured are related. To water. Over. Land in particular of a, big aquifer systems so for example here in California, and I think we have a small animation that we can roll, right now we, measured how the, change in water evolved. Over time and we can see these increased. Water, changes, those, are relatively wet years then we slide into multiple years of relatively, dry. Climate. Interrupted. By a wet, year where we see an increase but then we also have this prolonged drought over a few years where we slid into the steep, negative. Water storage anomaly, and with, the grace satellites we can really accurately, track. That water and, inform. Decision makers how much ground water is being pumped for agriculture. So. The whole point of having, grace, follow-on, come on the heels of grace is to keep that information, flow coming so. When. You think about it now what, next I mean we're - from now we've, just launched. When, do we get that science, yeah so we're really trying hard, to spin, up our satellites, to check out our instruments, so over the next few. Days the satellites, will drift into their final science, configuration, they. Need to be 220, kilometers apart so this will happen over the next few days then, our engineers. Through. The German Space Operations Center will, one-by-one. Power up our instruments, and check. Them out and make sure everything, performs, as intended, we'll do some calibrations. And in, about six to seven months from now we're ready to release our first graceful, all data set six, to seven months that's right oh and, that's fantastic. Thanks Felix my, pleasure all right well. You may not realize this but you can see Grace, and eventually. Grace follow-on information. On your own computer or mobile phone using. A program developed by NASA's, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It's called eyes on, earth and with it you can trace the movement. Of water around the globe using gravity, maps from, the grey satellites, all you, need is the, NASA eyes program. Which requires just, a one-time, download, take. A look. All. Right we have a successful, launch and, a, successful, deployment of, our satellites, we are standing by now for, the first communication. With the Greece follow, on satellites, hopefully, about, 10 minutes from now and that's, when the satellites, fly over the first ground station, at McMurdo, in the Antarctica. The station, is part of NASA's near-earth, network. Of satellite tracking stations, is sort, of the Earth observing satellite.
Equivalent, Of NASA's, Deep Space Network, when. That signal comes down it'll go to Mission Operations at, the, German Space Operations Center. Outside, of Munich, that's JSOC and that is where DLR, Sebastian, Lo is standing. By hi Sebastian. Hello. To California. So. We are standing, by for this, much. Very. Important, acquisition, of signal and that's. Gonna come in to JSOC, where you are correct. That's. Correct how, does it all work how will you be listening for, this signal. So. We will have our first pass in McMurdo roughly in, ten. Minutes, this will be our first acquisition station. There. Is the ground station located we will have two antennae pointed, to the direction where the graze photons, will arise, over the horizon, and, as soon as they are there they're hopefully transmitting, a signal and, we, will then record the signal forwarded, through the ground station to, TLR chuseok, and then we will see it on our screens, now. There are two satellites, do, you anticipate, that, you will be able to get both satellites. And acquisition, of signal from both. That's. The plan so the first one will be chief one we're. Going to use the first few minutes of the path to get some telemetry from the first. One and then after a few minutes we will switch over to the second one chief - and. Hopefully after the end of the course we saw both of them, alright, if, we don't, hear, from both of them is that going to be any source, of concern. No. Usually. Not because at, the moment we do not have. Good injection, information, from SpaceX we, will only receive that 60 minutes after separation so. It just might be that offset. Of the antenna is a little bit too much at the moment and, then afterwards, we have another station Pittsburgh, it's on the North Pole right after, that there is another one of our last one and, by that time we should already have a good orbit information, from SpaceX, and then we should be able to find all of them, we. Are very excited and I'm sure you are too, all eyes. Are on G sock now thanks, for joining us Sebastian. We. Spoke to another G sock flight director, Kai Muller a few months, ago while the team was undergoing. One, of their many operation. Readiness. Readiness. Test, that's something, that they do quite, a bit to, prepare, for a day like today. Well. I've been working for the grace mission since. Early. 2013 and it makes perfect sense sister to keep on working what ways follow-on we've. Now down the last simulation, before the launch and the past couple of days and, we, are ready to go you, can imagine we have quite, a large number of people involved in such a mission there's still, our performing, operations, for, G offset the German gear for sentiment, then of course we have JPL were the project managers for NASA partners, from the University, of Texas who are the main scientists. Behind the project and of course we have the partners from Eva's who actually took the spacecraft all. Of them have, specific, tasks that I want to see accomplished, and to. Coordinate this you need someone at the point where everything comes together I take. All the inputs which, are then coordinate with a command or board us to load and when, to send them to the spacecraft everyone. Sits at the exactly the place they're supposed to be performs. Exactly the same task in exactly. The same way we, do it for, the we launch we meet, in a separate room to discuss what, we've done did, everything happen, we expect it to happen did, we see any anomalies and so, we will discuss those and how to proceed. That repeats over and. Over again until we're through with our plan activities I, think. It's going to be quite networking but. I think once we're up once then orbits we're. Going, to see the separation okay I think. Things. Come down in, particularly once telemetry concerning. All. Right the first acquisition. Of signal is, expected. At about, 120. Pacific, time so 20 minutes past, the hour we, expect mission. Operations. At, ji-suk, will acquire, that signal, and NASA, will also be looking out for this signal folks, here in the mission directors Center here, at Vandenberg are also keeping. An eye out and we are all listening, Sammy, explain to me what, folks are doing right now this this, acquisition of signal how, will folks here, in the MDC, know so. We actually have a. Simulation. That we have run and tracked. With the spacecraft so. When. We get signal and it's immediately fed into the simulation, and we will get notification. Here that the health of the spacecraft. And, so the. As. Soon as the separation occurs we, will get that signal but, we it. Shortly will be looking at some, of the simulation, here. To kind of describe. How. That occurs, and over what period but, at this point the spacecraft, as I mentioned before is, going through internal.
Checks. And and stabilization. After. The deployment, of, the, antenna the communication. System is, up within four. Minutes of. Course the first thing that comes up is the computer system, on board and, all the subsystems start, start, powering up as a result. From. That, so, everything. So far as far as we know is nominal, we'll get the first signal from the spacecraft over, McMurdo. And in Antarctica. All right well we'll be standing by. Samy, well while we are waiting for the. Acquisition of signal I have, a couple of social media, questions, that have come in. Maybe. You can help us out here while we have time for you to answer some of them from. YouTube, from space TV a question. Comes in how does the shape of grace help, it do its job. The shape so the shape of the spacecraft, actually was selected. To, be. Exactly, the same as the original Grace and the, original grace shape was selected, to minimize. The. Drag, for. The spacecraft in orbit so. That, in that will result of course in. Efficiency. And fuel consumption, so in, the spacecraft lasted. For 15 years given. That it was designed only to last for three but. We were very efficient, in the fuel consumption. And, also of course the shape of the spacecraft. Made, a big difference for that okay, here's, a question from Jim, on Twitter, well, the gray satellite, passes, be visible. From Earth with, the naked eye the. Spacecraft, will be in their orbit will be at 490. Kilometers, that's. Fairly high, up for a naked. Eye, in. If one is extremely, lucky and they have a. Very. High, power binoculars, or a. Good, telescope they. May be able to see that however they will be moving very fast and it'll be very difficult, to track, them okay. Here. Is another one, from, YouTube, sparker. Can. This method, measure, the absolute, amount. Of water at the surface or, it. Can only measure the change, of water distribution, over time yeah, this method actually is is a is. A change. Of water in over time so it's not an absolute measurement. And. It's a relative, measurement we do this measurement every month and we compare, the results, and that's how we get an, assessment.
Or Some, knowledge of movement. Of mass whether its water or or, land. Mass for example. So. But it's not an absolute measurement for from, this method. Meantime. Salmon we have the display, that the team is watching right now can you two explain this to the viewers sure so this is an animation of course and as I mentioned, the. Data is plugged in so as soon as we get confirmation or, communication. Of the spacecraft, we will get immediate. Confirmation that we have contact. So. You can see here this spacecraft both. Spacecraft are and now in a southern lead rejection, so. They go on south towards, the. Antarctica. And. We. Would we. Would they, would pass the McMurdo. Station and, that's when we get contact. With the spacecraft. Be. Seeing should, be hearing confirmation. Thank you very quickly okay. We. Have. Here's, clapping. And applause in the room next to us and, the. Sky signal I see, from, gsok I see applause, there, so I understand. Me let's have an acquisition, oh we just got confirmation that. Actually. I'm receiving, it right now. That. We have signal. Or. From fm2. Spacecraft. To. So. They're, they're going, through the cycle for. Confirmation, the data just came through in, the simulation, I was just telling you about huh. So. They'll go through and make sure that they have the right confirmation. Still. Working through that and. Meantime. They have to reconfigure. Hopefully. To get the second satellite as well right. So. As soon as as soon as that signal. Is completed, on one spacecraft they, turned the, antenna to point, to the other spacecraft and, get, confirmation from that. So. So. The received telemetry from, GF one confirmation. From jisuk now. Excellent. Alright so. Let's go over there let's, get the reaction, over a G sock right now I understand. Neil daya, is standing, by right now via Skype so, we got, a signal hey. Yes. We did we got some signals, from what. We call graceful mom which is satellite, one and if you can see behind me you'll see on the center screen, your. Left hand side it's got a green top and you'll see a whole bunch of what we call it Salameh tree information telling us battery. State of charge what, the satellite is currently doing and right now it's what we call a real-time only mode where it's sending all the data all, the time and we're just listening at it but we're also trying to send commands as, we go so on the screen on the left and the right you'll, see a stack that's, moving and that's the commands that we're sending up and also telemetry, coming down from the satellite are, we talking about both, satellites, at this point or just. The first satellite. Just. The first one if you look you can see the green header is Grace one and a great small one and that's the one that's running and, the left and the right screens are actually command stacks for those we, have not gotten satellite. To but I don't know if we've transitioned, the. Plan was supposed to be for us to acquire and then need to come back up but because of the delays and everything we're doing this real-time right now alright, and it would not be a surprise if you don't get it right away you have another chance at it in 45, minutes right. Yes. I don't know where we're in the time line because we've got a set, 4 minute period where we're gonna listen to grace one and only, after that are we gonna switch now they've both should've been in the same orbit plane and they should be following each other so. The only thing the station has to do is to reconfigure, for, the different frequencies, of satellite, - so. How are folks feeling there yeah, we get it oh I'm. Sorry. Go ahead you. Once have said you know your job is to make. Sure that, you keep your satellites. Safe and so. It. Seems like that's exactly what you're doing right now. Yes. Right now this particular. Pass is a listen-only, so we can get understanding. Of this is the ability in the health of the satellites, and if we need to do something right away we, can do it on the next pass if everything looks good then, what we'll do is we already have a pre-scripted, procedure, of exactly, what we're gonna do and when we're going to get to it coordinated, with the passes and we'll just run along those all.
Right Well, the, launch was here but all eyes are on gsok right now because pretty much all, operations. Are going to, be down, your way now right. Yep. Everything is going to run out of this location from here on out. Well. Thanks Neil we'll be standing by. Meantime. That wraps things up here from Vandenberg, Air Force Base we, did get the very first, signal, so, we know that we have acquisition. Of signal from the satellites, we may or may not get the second one on this pass but, worry. Not we have an opportunity, to get it on the. Next pass over. The North Pole but, before, we go we want to give our thanks to our JPL. Crew that's at gsok, right now Jim round Christopher, Harrison Kristin. Why both plus, the Kennedy Space Center, faces. That our TV crew who, have helped. Us put this on for you without them we wouldn't even be on the air and of, course special, thanks, to Sammy Calley who helped us understand, all the workings of this and this, incredible, mission if, you want to learn more about this mission here's the website for you it's W, WMS, a govt. Slash, grace, fo, that's. Again w, w NS, a guv. Grace, /. Grace. Fo, / grace fo. Alright. That's it for us now before, we go here's one last look at the launch and a, salute, to the people of grace follow-on, thanks. You everyone, for joining us. Okay. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six five. Four. Three. Two. One. And. Liftoff. Of grace, follow-on. Continuing. The legacy of the grace mission of tracking. The movement, of water across our, planet. Vehicles. Picking downrange.