Japan: The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint earth-observing mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has thundered into space from Japan. The four-ton spacecraft launched aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in southern Japan.
"With this launch, we have taken another giant leap in providing the world with an unprecedented picture of our planet's rain and snow.GPM will help us better understand our ever-changing climate, improve forecasts of extreme weather events like floods, and assist decision makers around the world to better manage water resources,” said Charles Bolder, NASA Administrator. The GPM Core Observatory will take a major step in improving upon the capabilities of the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), a joint NASA-JAXA mission launched in 1997 and still in operation. While TRMM measured precipitation in the tropics, the GPM Core Observatory expands the coverage area from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle. GPM will also be able to detect light rain and snowfall, a major source of available fresh water in some regions. To better understand Earth's weather and climate cycles, the GPM Core Observatory will collect information that unifies and improves data from an international constellation of existing and future satellites by mapping global precipitation every three hours.
Source: NASA gov