This excerpt from the November 2014 edition of The Earth Observer provides a summary of the activities at the PMM Science Team Meeting which took place from August 4 - 7, 2014. The PMM program supports scientific research, algorithm development, and ground-based validation activities for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory that launched on February 27, 2014.
Pressure readings from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission's (TRMM) fuel tank on July 8 indicated that the satellite was nearly at the end of its fuel supply. As a result, NASA has ceased maneuvers to keep the satellite at its operating altitude of 402 kilometers (~250 miles). With its speed decreasing, TRMM has begun to drift downward. A small amount of fuel remains to conduct debris avoidance maneuvers to ensure the satellite remains safe.
Three Radars are Better than One
Putting three radars on a plane to measure rainfall may seem like overkill. But for the Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment field campaign in North Carolina recently, more definitely was better.
An old adage about environmental stewardship goes, “Think Globally, Act Locally.” When it came to rainfall, however, Arthur Hou, project scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement mission from 2005 until his passing on November 20, 2013, took an approach of Think Globally, Act Globally.
The GPM spacecraft continues to perform normally. The GPM Microwave Imager and Dual-frequency Precipitation radar continue operations and calibration.
Rain, ice, hail, severe winds, thunderstorms, and heavy fog – the Appalachian Mountains in the southeast United States have it all. On May 1, NASA begins a campaign in western North Carolina to better understand the difficult-to-predict weather patterns of mountain regions. The field campaign serves as ground truth for measurements made by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Core Observatory.
The GPM Core Observatory continues power positive, stable on the sun line and communicating with the GPM Mission Operations Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The spacecraft magnetic torquer bar polarity was adjusted to eliminate rotational momentum gain. Star trackers were turned on and the High Gain Antenna was successfully deployed.
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), thundered into space at 1:37 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 27 (3:37 a.m. JST Friday, Feb. 28) from Japan.
Global Precipitation Measurement is a big mission. You've got questions? We've got answers.
Three days before launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, NASA staff supporting the mission set up shop in the lobby of the Sun Pearl Hotel in nearby Minamitane for a live Twitter Q-and-A to answer questions about the mission and what it will do in orbit.
Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Michael Starobin