GPM Core Observatory

GPM Launches at 1:37pm EST 2/27/14

GPM Liftoff

A Japanese H-IIA rocket with the NASA-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory onboard, is seen launching from the Tanegashima Space Center, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 (Friday Feb. 28 in Japan). The GPM spacecraft will collect information that unifies data from an international network of existing and future satellites to map global rainfall and snowfall every three hours. .

GPM's Launch Vehicle Arrives at Tanegashima Space Center

The launch vehicle for the Global Precipitation Measurement, or GPM, mission's Core Observatory arrived at Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, Jan. 21, local time. The Japanese H-IIA rocket, No. 23, has two stages that arrived by cargo freighter the previous evening. They were then trucked across the island in the middle of the night when no cars were on the road.

GPM Loaded onto Truck in Japan

GPM Loaded onto Truck in Japan
Image Caption: 
GPM on its last truck during shipment to the launch site.

On the back of the shipping container sits the Environmental Control Unit (left), as well as its generator (green on the right). The ECU has heaters and air conditioners to regulate temperature and humidity as well as filters on the air vents to keep out any contaminants.

GPM Completes Spacecraft Alignments

GPM Completes Spacecraft Alignments

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.

NASA & JAXA Announce Launch Date for GPM

Environmental research and weather forecasting are about to get a significant technology boost as NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) prepare to launch a new satellite in February.

NASA and JAXA selected 1:07 p.m. to 3:07 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 27 (3:07 a.m. to 5:07 a.m. JST Friday, Feb. 28) as the launch date and launch window for a Japanese H-IIA rocket carrying the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite from JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center.

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