An international satellite that will set a new standard for global precipitation measurements from space began its 7,300-mile journey from Maryland to Japan where it will undergo launch preparations. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is a partnership led by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). GPM’s Core Observatory satellite is designed to unify precipitation measurements made by a constellation of U.S. and international partner satellites to achieve global coverage of rain and snow every three hours. The spacecraft was carried by truck from its design and testing home at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., on Nov. 19th inside a large transportation container to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. The container was loaded onto an Air Force C-5 transport aircraft, which left Andrews early on Nov. 21 for a 15-hour flight to the Kitakyushu Airport in Japan. From the Kitakyushu Airport the spacecraft will be loaded onto a barge and shipped to JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in southern Japan where it will be prepared for launch in early 2014 on a H-IIA rocket. The GPM Core Observatory satellite, which is the size of a small business jet, is the largest Earth science satellite ever built at NASA Goddard.
This is footage of the GPM Core spacecraft leaving Goddard Space Flight Center and traveling to Andrews Air Force Base for travel to Japan for launch.