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March 15, 2002

David E. Steitz
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1730)

Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
(Phone: 818/354-0474)


NASA's Amazing Grace Twins Set to Sing Praises of Gravity

The launch of two spacecraft that make up the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or "Grace," mission aboard a Russian launch vehicle is scheduled for Saturday, March 16, from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The 10-minute launch window extends from 4:23 a.m. to 4:33 a.m. EST.

Grace is a joint NASA/German Center for Air and Space Flight (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft und Rumfahrt, or DLR) mission that will track how water is transported and stored within Earth's environment. The mission will precisely measure Earth's shifting water masses and map their effects on Earth's gravity field.

NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 3 a.m. EST and conclude at 6:30 a.m. EST. Coverage is expected to be audio only from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. EST, during rocket ascent. Live televised coverage will resume from Germany at 6 a.m. EST and run until 6:30 a.m. EST to confirm successful spacecraft separation.

NASA TV is carried on GE-2, transponder 9C located at 85 degrees West longitude, with vertical polarization. Frequency is on 3880.0 megahertz with audio on 6.8 megahertz.

The Grace mission is managed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif. A webcast of the launch will be available on the Internet through JPL at:

Webcasting also will be available from the German Space Program (DLR) site at:


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