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EARTH OBSERVATION
Counting Down to GPM
by Staff Writers
Tanegashima, Japan (SPX) Feb 26, 2014


File image.

Join NASA in counting down to the launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement mission's Core Observatory, starting at noon EST, Thursday, Feb. 27. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and it will set a new standard in measuring rain and snow around the world.

As we build up to the launch from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, NASA scientists will discuss the satellite's major innovations and the big questions GPM will set out to answer. Follow along on NASA Television (www.nasa.gov/ntv) and ask your big questions to the experts using #gpm on Twitter. GPM is scheduled to launch from Tanegashima Space Center at 1:07 p.m. EST on Feb. 27, 2014.

Also, join in on the conversation on Monday, Feb. 24, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST in our prelaunch TweetChat. Find us @NASA_Rain and tag your questions with #gpm or #askNASA for our project scientists and managers. Art Azarbarzin, GPM project manager, and Gail Skofronick-Jackson, GPM project scientist, will be live from Japan, and Candace Carlisle, GPM deputy project manager, and Dalia Kirschbaum, GPM scientist, will be live from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

GPM Enclosed in Fairing
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.

The encapsulation process for the H-IIA is very different than for most U.S. rockets. For U.S. rockets, the fairing is usually in two pieces that close around the payload like a clamshell. To install the GPM Core Observatory into the fairing of the H-IIA rocket, first the Core Observatory and the Payload Attach Fitting (PAF) are set up in scaffolding in the Encapsulation Hall.

Then, the fairing is lifted above and lowered onto the fitting. When only a few feet remain above the final position, stanchions support the fairing while technicians go inside to complete the electrical connections. When this is completed, they remove the stanchions and lower the fairing to its final position, where it is bolted in place.

The GPM mission is the first coordinated international satellite network to provide near real-time observations of rain and snow every three hours anywhere on the globe. The GPM Core Observatory anchors this network by providing observations on all types of precipitation.

The observatory's data acts as the measuring stick by which partner observations can be combined into a unified data set. The data will be used by scientists to study climate change, freshwater resources, floods and droughts, and hurricane formation and tracking.

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Related Links
Global Precipitation Measurement mission's Core Observatory at NASA
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application






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