After a holiday break, final tests for the GPM Core Observatory resumed on Dec. 30, 2013, with alignment measurements. The spacecraft's instruments and components, such as star trackers and thrusters, are attached to the main body in specific configurations. Spacecraft alignment measurement is analogous to alignment for the wheels of a car. The Core Observatory measurements ensure that no parts have shifted during its transportation from the United States to Japan, so they will work as expected.
On Tuesday Nov. 13, 2012, the GPM observatory moved from the clean room to the thermal vacuum chamber. The spacecraft, wrapped in protective blankets, made the short trip by crane across the testing facility where it was then lowered into the 40-foot test chamber.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the Building 29 clean room which houses the GPM spacecraft. The following day, the team carefully inspected the I&T area and spacecraft. There was no visible damage or debris, and post-earthquake inspections identified no problems.