The PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud and ocean Ecosystem) satellite is a planned mission to make global ocean color measurements to provide extended data records on ocean ecology and global biogeochemistry (e.g., carbon cycle) along with polarimetry measurements to provide extended data records on clouds and aerosols. Understanding of impacts and feedbacks of the Earth system to climate are critical importance.
PACE's advanced technologies will provide unprecedented insight into Earth's ocean and atmosphere, which impact our everyday lives by regulating climate and making our planet habitable. Our oceans teem with life, supporting many of Earth's economies. New discoveries in Earth's living ocean will be revealed with PACE's global observations, such as the diversity of organisms fueling marine food webs and how ecosystems respond to environmental change. PACE will observe our atmosphere to study clouds along with the tiny airborne particles known as aerosols. Looking at the ocean, clouds, and aerosols together will improve our knowledge of the roles each plays in our changing planet.
PACE's data will reveal interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, including how they exchange carbon dioxide and how atmospheric aerosols might fuel phytoplankton growth in the surface ocean. Novel uses of PACE data – from identifying the extent and duration of harmful algal blooms to improving our understanding of air quality – will result in direct economic and societal benefits.
The two primary science instruments planned for PACE are the Ocean Color Instrument (OCI), which is being built at GSFC, and a multi-angle polarimeter that will be procured from an industry partner.
PACE is being implemented as a NASA Class C mission with a notional launch date in the 2022-2023 timeframe and a minimum mission duration of three years, with orbit maintenance capabilities for 10 years.
In July 2017, passed the key decission point B, but has been cancelled in the Trump administration's 2018 NASA budget proposal only to be reinstated later. In the FY2019 budget, the cancellation again was proposed. In February 2020, a launch contract with SpaceX for a launch on a Falcon-9 v1.2 (Block 5) in December 2022 was signed. The Trump administration's 2021 NASA budget proposal again tried to cancel the mission.
|Type / Application:||Earth observation|
|Equipment:||OCI, multi-angle polarimeter|
|Power:||Deployable solar array, batteries|
|Lifetime:||3 years (design); 10 years (consumables)|
|Mass:||< 1700 kg|
|Orbit:||677 km × 677 km, 98°|
|PACE||-||2023||CC||Falcon-9 v1.2 (Block 5)|