JAXA-NASA observatory to improve ability to analyze global precipitation

Kyodo

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Friday revealed the details of a global precipitation observatory that will be put into orbit next month.

The Global Precipitation Measurement core observatory was jointly developed by JAXA and NASA. Unlike conventional satellites, the 4-ton, 6.5-meter-high facility has a cutting-edge dual-frequency precipitation radar that can observe any kind of rain, from very fine to extremely heavy, JAXA said.

“This could result in enhancing the accuracy of our projections of disasters caused by typhoons and heavy rain, while also contributing to studies of global warming and climate change,” said JAXA’s Masahiro Kojima, the 58-year-old project manager of the GPM project.

JAXA plans to put the GPM in orbit using an H-IIA F23 launch vehicle scheduled to blast off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture on Feb. 28. The launch vehicle, made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., will also be carrying seven small satellites developed by Shinshu, Kagawa, Tsukuba and Kagoshima universities.