On the occasion of the current Fall Meeting of the AGU (American Geophysical Union) in San Francisco the German-American GRACE-Team was presented with the William T. Pecora Award. This prize is awarded for extraordinary achievement in better understanding our planet with the aid of remote sensing. It is dedicated in commemoration of the former Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, William T. Pecora.
The GRACE mission (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) was launched in 2002 with the aim of gaining data on climatic processes through high-precision registration of the Earth’s gravity field. With GRACE, scientists of GFZ Potsdam (Germany’s National Lab for Geosciences, member of the Helmholtz Association) have thus, for the first time, been able to determine globally the water balance of the continents in seasonal change from satellites.
“This award for the GRACE team demonstrates that with innovative satellite missions such as the GRACE satellite tandem, new insights into the System Earth become available to science. And especially in view of the current discussion on the climate change such data provide us with a reliable data base” specifies Professor Dr. Reinhard Hüttl, Scientific Executive Director of the GFZ Potsdam with respect to this award. “I congratulate the GRACE-Team on this well-deserved award.”
The satellite tandem GRACE is a joint project of the American Space Agency NASA and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). The scientific lead of the satellite project at GFZ Potsdam is in the hands of Professor Markus Rothacher, who also is the head of the european science team.The German Space Operations Centre of DLR is responsible for satellite operation and data reception. Mission management is performed by NASA/JPL. The two satellites were manufactured by the company Astrium GmbH in Friedrichshafen. Rocketing the spacecrafts into orbit was performed by the German-Russian enterprise Eurockot.
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