The Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar built by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for the Global Precipitation Measurement GPM mission's Core Observatory arrived on Friday, March 16 and was unloaded today at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
The GPM mission will provide a new generation of satellite observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours for scientific research and societal benefits. NASA's mission partner JAXA developed the DPR in cooperation with Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology. The instrument will provide 3-D measurements of the shapes and sizes of raindrops and snowflakes and other physical characteristics that will allow scientists to better understand the physical properties of storms.
The DPR was flown from Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan, to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City where it and its supporting equipment were placed on trucks and driven to NASA Goddard.
The team of Japanese engineers that built the DPR accompanied the instrument to give it an initial post-travel check-up. The DPR will formally be handed over to NASA on March 30. In the coming months it will be integrated onto the spacecraft at Goddard. GPM's other instrument, the GPM Microwave Imager, was delivered in late February and has been mechanically integrated onto the GPM Core Observatory.
"Together these two instruments will provide a unique database to characterize precipitating particles in different parts of the world," said GPM Project Scientist Arthur Hou. "This dataset will be key to obtaining more accurate precipitation estimates from all the satellites in the GPM constellation and combining them into a uniform global precipitation dataset."
Explore further: How can we search for life on icy moons such as Europa?