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GPM satellite set to launch from Japan early Thursday afternoon

H-IIA rocket with GPM satellite on launch pad at Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.
NASA/BIll Ingalls.

The rocket which will launch NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory today has been moved to the launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. The launch is scheduled for 1:37 p.m. this afternoon, Florida time, and you can watch live coverage on NASA TV starting at noon.

NASA says an engineering team from the Goddard Space Flight Center has been at Tanegashima for the past four months preparing for the launch, working with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency. The GPM satellite is an international project designed to provide “…next-generation observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours.”

Benefits the advanced satellite systems will bring to science and society include the following, according to NASA:

  • Improved knowledge of the Earth's water cycle and its link to climate change
  • New insights into precipitation microphysics, storm structures and large-scale atmospheric processes
  • Extended capabilities in monitoring and predicting hurricanes and other extreme weather events
  • Improved forecasting abilities for natural hazards, including floods, droughts and landslides.
  • Enhanced numerical prediction skills for weather and climate
  • Better agricultural crop forecasting and monitoring of freshwater resources

Click here to visit the GPM Mission website.

Click here to watch NASA TV using Flash or Ustream.

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