Ellen Gray

GPM Core Observatory Encapsulated

GPM Core Observatory Encapsulated into Rocket Fairing
Credit: NASA / JAXA

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.

Fairing Attached to HII-A Rocket

The Global Precipitation Measurement Core (GPM) Observatory is scheduled to launch on Feb. 27 (EST) from Tanegashima Space Center, Japan.

The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries team finished installing the GPM mission’s Core Observatory into the fairing. The main installation occurred on Feb. 13, and all final activities and checks concluded on Feb. 16. The fairing is the top part of the rocket that will protect the spacecraft during launch.

GPM Launch Party at NASA Goddard

GPM Launch Party at NASA Goddard

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is opening its Visitor Center to the public for a family-friendly activity-filled Global Precipitation Measurement launch party from noon to 3 p.m. EST Feb. 27, 2014. We will watch a live NASA Television broadcast of the launch of the GPM Core Observatory from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. We will have expert presentations and family-friendly, hands-on demonstrations. The launch of the GPM Core Observatory is scheduled for no earlier than 1:07 p.m. EST.

GPM Spacecraft Completes Fueling

The Global Precipitation Measurement mission propulsion team completed fueling the Core Observatory spacecraft on Feb. 6 in the spacecraft and fairing assembly building at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center, Japan. Afterward the propulsion team did leak checks.

GPM's fuel is hydrazine, which will power GPM's 12 thrusters that are used to maneuver the spacecraft so that it first enters then maintains its final orbit 253 miles (407 km) above Earth's surface. GPM will carry enough fuel for a minimum of five years of mission life.

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 Completes Spacecraft Alignments

GPM Completes Spacecraft Alignments

After a holiday break, final tests for the GPM Core Observatory resumed on Dec. 30, 2013, with alignment measurements. The spacecraft's instruments and components, such as star trackers and thrusters, are attached to the main body in specific configurations. Spacecraft alignment measurement is analogous to alignment for the wheels of a car. The Core Observatory measurements ensure that no parts have shifted during its transportation from the United States to Japan, so they will work as expected.

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