CSR Missions

The UT Center for Space Research is a leader and innovator in mission planning, design, and execution of spacecraft, aircraft, and ground-based campaigns. CSR expertise has led, supported and enhanced many missions that have improved our knowledge of complex processes ranging from how the Earth’s system operates to exploring questions regarding fundamental physics.

Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)

The twin-spacecraft Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission measures changes in the Earth’s gravity with unprecedented accuracy, providing crucial information about the distribution and transport of mass within the Earth system’s surface and deep ocean currents, surface and ground water storage, ice sheets and glaciers, and other hydrological and terrestrial features.

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Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO)

Once it is launched and operational in 2017, the GRACE-FO mission will continue the measurement of variations in the Earth’s gravity field to create datasets that enable scientists to develop an even deeper understanding of long-term global climate processes. The GRACE-FO mission will also demonstrate a new Laser Ranging Interferometer technology with the potential of significantly increasing the resolution of data measured in future GRACE-like missions.

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Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2)

Scheduled for launch in 2018, the ICESat-2 spacecraft is a photon-counting laser altimeter satellite that will continue the original ICESat mission’s detailed global measurement of changes over time in ice sheet, sea ice, forest canopy, and global land and ocean surface heights. CSR supports the Precision Orbit and Pointing Determination (POD, PPD) tasks that are critical for accurate and precise geolocation of the laser.

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Artist drawing of uPGRADEuPGRADE is an Earth Observation Cubesat for observing Earth’s gravitational field variations and measuring the neutral thermosphere. The University of Texas at Austin will evaluate the scientific capabilities of satellite, equipped with a GNSS receiver, MEMS accelerometer and Star-trackers, in cooperation with a consortium of Portuguese commercial and academic institutions, comprised of Spin.WorksUniversity of Minho, the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) and the Institute of Welding and Quality (ISQ), funded by the UT Austin-Portugal program.

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