Constellation Partners

Co-led by NASA and the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission have built unprecedented international cooperation in space asset sharing and scientific collaboration to advance precipitation estimation from space for research and applications.

GPM is an international satellite mission specifically designed to unify and advance precipitation measurements from research and operational microwave sensors for delivering next-generation global precipitation data products. The GPM mission concept centers on deploying a GPM “Core” satellite by NASA and JAXA carrying an advanced combined active/passive sensor package to establish new reference standards for precipitation measurements from space. The combined active/passive sensor measurements can also be used to derive consistent precipitation estimates from a constellation of satellites provided by a consortium of international partners.

Diagram of the various satellites which comprise the GPM Constellation, updated 1-31-2017

Through bilateral agreements with either NASA or JAXA, GPM achieves global coverage with a high sampling frequency by relying on both existing satellite programs and new mission opportunities from its partners. Each constellation member may have its unique scientific or operational objectives but contributes microwave measurements to GPM for the generation and dissemination of uniform global precipitation products for worldwide user communities.

GPM constellation satellite equator crossover times 
This graph depicts the overpass times and periods of record for satellites with microwave imagers / sounders.

In addition to the DPR and GMI on the GPM Core Observatory, the GPM constellation satellites have the following groups of conically-scanning and cross-track-scanning microwave radiometers:

  • Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) instruments on U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites
  • The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-2 (AMSR-2) on JAXA’s Global Change Observation Mission - Water 1 (GCOM-W1) satellite
  • The Multi-Frequency Microwave Scanning Radiometer (MADRAS) and the multi-channel microwave humidity sounder (SAPHIR) on the Megha-Tropiques satellite provided by the Centre National D’Etudies Spatiales (CNES) of France and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
  • The Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) instrument on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-19 satellite
  • MHS instruments on the MetOp series of satellites launched by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)
  • The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) instruments on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP)
  • ATMS instruments on the upcoming NOAA-NASA Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites

In terms of formal GPM partnership development, NASA has in place a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on GPM collaboration with JAXA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). There are also bi-laterial MOU's in place with ISRO and CNES to formalize the participation of Megha-Tropiques in GPM. NASA and NOAA have in place an Inter-agency Agreement on GPM cooperation.

In 2002 the United Nations Program on “Remote Sensing for Substantive Water Management in Arid and Semi-Arid Areas" identified the GPM Mission as an outstanding example of peaceful uses of space. Within the framework of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), GPM provides the cornerstone for developing the Precipitation Constellation under the auspices of the Committee of Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) to provide comprehensive, long-term, and coordinated observations of the Earth. During its mission life, GPM is designated as the first realization of the CEOS Precipitation Virtual Constellation.

Organization: ISRO / CNES
Launched: 10/12/2011

Suomi NPP
Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership
Organization: NASA
Launched: 10/28/2011

Global Change Observation Mission - Water 1
Organization: JAXA
Launched: 5/18/2012

Meteorological Operational Satellite Programme - B
Organization: ESA
Planned Launch Date: 9/17/2012