While the joint NASA/DLR mission, GRACE (Gravity-Recovery And Climate Experiment)  has been a resounding success since its 2002 launch, a follow on mission called, rather unimaginatively, GRACE Follow-On, is now being planned.  To that end Astrium of Germany (part of EADS) has now been awarded the construction contract in November by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – the centre managing the mission.  The launch of the spacecraft is to take place in August 2017.  The spacecraft, weighing in at 590kg each at launch, willl be equipped with a laser ranging system and will have a minimum design life of five years,