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PACE's Year in Review: 2021

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 12:00:00

A White House visit, continued assembly, deliveries and a renewed focus on understanding climate change. For 2021, PACE reached some major milestones as it prepares for launch in early 2024. Here are a few highlights from the Goddard-based mission.

Propulsion and Quality teams
Propulsion and Quality teams inspect the completed propulsion subsystem in the PACE clean room. Credit: NASA.

PACE's SPEXone Instrument is Delivered

Movie cover
SPEXone is a polarimeter that will go onto the PACE spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Michael Starobin.
This past March, members of PACE, in coordination with its partners, successfully collected the SPEXone instrument as it landed at Dulles International Airport from the Netherlands. More here.

Spacecraft Assembly Ramps Up

The PACE spacecraft continued with assembly. In 2021, upgrades included structural tests, the Ground Support Equipment solar array deployment, and installation of the propulsion system.
PACE mechanical team lowers primary structure on to modal test fixture
The PACE mechanical team lowers primary structure onto the modal test fixture. Credit: NASA/ Dennis Henry.

OCI Scores Big Upgrades

OCI hardware in the TVAC chamber for thermal testing
OCI hardware in the TVAC chamber for thermal testing. Credit: NASA/ DesireeStover.


Scientists and crew aboard the RRS James Cook deploy a sampling rosette
Scientists and crew aboard the RRS James Cook deploy a sampling rosette to collect water samples and other information from ocean depths. Credit: Deborah Steinberg.
A seaward journey, supported by both NASA and the National Science Foundation, set sail in the northern Atlantic in early May to study the Ocean Twilight Zone on the EXPORTS mission. More here.

Educational Resources for PACE

PACE can be complicated. In 2021, we created a series of coloring interactives, storymaps and thematic resources to teach you how the mission will study the ocean.

PACE Endorsed by UN Ocean Decade

UNESCO Ocean Decade logo
Credit: UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission announced the first Actions officially endorsed as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, 2021-2030 (the 'Ocean Decade'). PACE is one of over 60 programs that will develop and implement Decade Actions to meet the Ocean Decade Challenges More here.

PACE Hosts 1st Community Focus Session and 2nd Applications Workshop

Workshop speakers
The workshop featured speakers ranging from NASA to academia. Credit: NASA.
In July, PACE hosted its first Community Focus Session on water quality and water resources. This one-day event promoted active participation and round-table discussion on future uses of PACE satellite data products to support research and applied sciences in the context of water quality and water resources. More here.

In September, PACE hosted a two-day virtual applications workshop inviting user communities and stakeholders to a discussion on practical uses of the mission's future data. The event had nearly 1,000 participants. More here.

PACE Meets the Vice President

Vice President Kamala Harris visits Goddard
Vice President Kamala Harris visits Goddard to learn more about climate science. Credit: NASA/Taylor Mickal.
PACE was featured during a visit with Vice President Kamala Harris as she toured Goddard. More here.

The PACE Team

Members of the PACE team 2021
Members of the PACE team 2021. Credit: NASA.

Blog Archive
PACE project team screenshot
Learn more about the members of the PACE Project Team.
Paper model screenshot
It usually takes years to build a satellite that can survive the extremes of space. This paper model replica of PACE has five parts plus an optional 'Hinge'. Just like NASA, you will create the final spacecraft model by assembling the parts together...but in a tiny fraction of the time!
Campaigns screenshot
Observational studies can provide data and information that benefit PACE. Several field-based campaigns have been or will be conducted at specific locations over defined time periods, using a variety of instruments.