Art Azarbarzin, NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission project manager, and Mashahiro Kojima, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's GPM/DPR project manager, reflect on the long journey the GPM Core Observatory spacecraft has taken to reach its last stop before orbit, the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, from where the mission's Core Observatory is scheduled to launch on the afternoon of Feb. 27, 2014 (EST).
Launch pad 1 is seen at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 in Tanegashima, Japan. A Japanese H-IIA rocket carrying the NASA-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory is planned for launch from pad 1 on Feb. 28, 2014. Once launched, 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. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
A roadside flag welcomes the NASA team and visitors to Minamitame Town, one of only a few small towns located outside of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), where the launch of an H-IIA rocket carrying the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory will take place in the next week, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, Tanegashima Island, Japan.
On Feb. 11, the Core Observatory was moved into the spacecraft fairing assembly building and into the Encapsulation Hall. Final inspections and preparations were completed for the installation into the fairing, which began on Feb 13. The fairing is the part of the rocket that will contain the spacecraft at the top of the H-IIA rocket.