The PACE spacecraft is inspected and cleaned on a spacecraft dolly in a high bay at Astrotech Space Operation in Titusville, Florida on December 4, 2023.

Engineers are executing a comprehensive performance test to ensure the PACE spacecraft is ready for launch. NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission will study what makes Earth so different from every other planet we study: life itself. PACE will extend and improve upon NASA’s 20-plus years of global satellite observations of our living ocean, atmospheric aerosols, and clouds. It will also continue key measurements related to air quality and initiate an advanced set of climate-relevant data records.

Testing and other preparations include charging batteries and power tests on the spacecraft bus and solar arrays. Launch is targeted for early 2024 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett