Most people know that SpaceX delivered new climate-monitoring satellites of NASA into orbit in May. Now, these satellites are ready to keep an eye on atmosphere, oceans levels, and the ice sheets of our planet. The twin GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On) satellites switched for the first time on 13th June on their lasers in order to search for one another. These lasers will allow satellites to keep connected with each other during they orbit the Earth. They will track changes between them from distance happened by variations in the gravitational field of our planet. The collected data will provide a handsome support to scientists in better understanding and monitor the rising sea levels, the thickness of ice sheets, and the flow of magma underground. The ancestors of these satellites are called GRACE. They used the similar technique, but they just have a microwave ranging instrument.
The GRACE-FO has a microwave ranging system. They can also carry an experimental LRI (laser ranging interferometer) onboard. This mission is specific to the presentation of LRI technology in order to prove that it has the ability to deliver more perfect measurements. NASA official Kirk McKenzie said that the LRI is an innovation for distance measurements accuracy in the space. It has been considered the 1st inter-spacecraft laser interferometer and a success for NASA and German-funded research and development. Point to be noted that lasers of satellites have been installed towards a coin-sized hole on each other over a distance of more than 137 miles. It is interesting that these satellites orbit the Earth at 16,000 miles per hour. NASA has indicated that the test on 13th June has proved that the LRI instruments of spacecraft are working according to expectations.