Engineering the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission at NASA

Croul Hall 3101

Featuring Ardeshir Art Azarbarzin

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Organized by The Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth System Science


The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is an international cooperative effort to advance the understanding of the physics of the Earth’s water and energy cycle. Accurate and timely knowledge of global precipitation is essential for understanding the weather/climate/ecological system, for improving our ability to manage freshwater resources, and for predicting high-impact natural hazard events including floods, droughts, extreme weather events, and landslides. GPM Mission is comprised of a constellation of sun synchronous and non-sun synchronous satellites providing total global precipitation data within hours.

The GPM Project is responsible for the development of two Observatories; Core Observatory and a Low Inclination Observatory, ground system/mission operations and data processing of the total constellation. The GPM Core Observatory will be a reference standard to uniformly calibrate data from a constellation of spacecraft with passive microwave sensors. GPM is being developed under a partnership between the United States (US) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in Greenbelt, MD is developing the Core Observatory, two GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) instruments, Ground Validation System and Precipitation Processing System for the GPM mission. JAXA will provide a Dual- frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) for installation on the Core satellite and launch services for the Core Observatory. The second GMI instrument will be flown on a partnerprovided spacecraft. Other US agencies and international partners contribute to the GPM mission by providing precipitation measurements obtained from their own spacecraft and/or providing groundbased precipitation measurements to support ground validation activities. In this talk, the current status and the engineering challenges of GPM Mission will be presented.