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's Launch Vehicle Arrives at Tanegashima Space Center
Both stages of the Japanese H-IIA rocket arrived at Tanegashima Island, Japan on Jan. 20, 2014. Above, the first stage in its shipping container is lifted off of the cargo freighter. It and the upper stage traveled by truck to Tanegashima Space Center.
Credit: NASA/Warren Schultzaburger

At the space center, the truck delivered the two stages in their shipping containers to the Vehicle Assembly Building, managed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) launch services provider, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. On Wednesday, Jan. 22, the GPM team joined their Mitsubishi and JAXA colleagues at the assembly building for a rocket and mission success ceremony. Over the next weeks, the Mitsubishi team will raise and assemble the rocket, prepping for launch.

Meanwhile, the GPM Core Observatory is undergoing the final preparations for flight in the clean room before being moved to a facility where it will be fueled.