NASA Picks GPM Microwave Imager

Scheduled to fly in 2013 on the GPM Core Observatory


WASHINGTON, May 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA has awarded a sole source contract to Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp. of Boulder, Colo., for the Global Precipitation Measurement Microwave Imager instrument Flight Unit 2. The Global Precipitation Measurement, or GPM, mission will use an international constellation of satellites to study global rain, snow and ice to better understand our climate, weather, and hydrometeorological processes.

Under this contract, Ball Aerospace and Technology will manufacture, test and deliver the GMI instrument Flight Unit 2, support instrument integration on the spacecraft and provide launch and post-launch support.

The GMI Flight Unit 2 will be identical to the GMI Flight Unit 1 and will be manufactured in series with GMI 1. GMI 1 is scheduled to fly in 2013 on the GPM Core Observatory.

This is a cost-plus-award fee, incentive fee contract in the amount of approximately $48.5 million with a period of performance from Oct. 9, 2009, through March 31, 2016.

The GMI instrument, a multi-channel, conical-scanning, microwave radiometer, will measure Earth’s atmospheric moisture with near-global coverage.

The GMI Flight Unit 2 is planned to fly on a GPM partner-provided spacecraft in a low-inclination orbit as part of the GPM constellation with a targeted launch date of 2014. It will contribute to GPM by enhancing monitoring of hurricanes and mid-latitude storms and improving estimates of rainfall accumulation.

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Special Features

Science of Measuring Precipitation: Why It Matters
Water cycling and the future availability of fresh water resources are immense societal concerns that impact every nation on Earth….

NASA’S TRMM Satellite: Prelude to GPM
TRMM was the first satellite dedicated to rainfall measurement, and is the only satellite that carries a weather radar.

Towards An Integrated Satellite Estimate of Rainfall
Scientists use a variety of techniques for measuring rain from space. Rainfall can be inferred from the temperature of cloud tops.

What Makes up GPM
GPM will be capable of measuring rain rates as small as a hundredth of an inch per hour to as large as 4 inches an hour. For more information about GPM, visit:

GPM Microwave Imager (GMI)

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) instrument is a multi-channel, conical- scanning, microwave radiometer serving an essential role in the near-global-coverage and frequent-revisit-time requirements of GPM. For?? more on the GPM Microwave Imager:

GPM Science Serving Society
GPM science will provide advances in world health, homeland security, agriculture, land use change, and science education.

Water for Tea
The high-tech GPM Mission grabs viewers’ attention through images of teacups and teapots.
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GPM Brochure
“An International Partnership Mission to Understand Global Precipitation and Its Impact on Humankind”
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Related Web Sites

TRMM Mission

TRMM Science Data


Destination Earth

NASA: Life on Earth

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Mission Status

  • GPM is in the Formulation Phase
  • Successfully completed the GPM Mission Preliminary Design Review (PDR) November 10-13, 2008

Launch Date(s)
Core spacecraft: ?? July 21, 2013
Low-inclination spacecraft: ?? Nov. 2014

NASA Newsroom :

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The 8th International GPM Planning Workshop, 16-18 June 2009, Paris, France

Ground Validation Peer Review, June 19, 2008, GSFC