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Ball Aerospace’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission Device Hailed as Most Accurate


Precipitation-Measurement-Mission

Launched in February of 2014, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Core Satellite’s Microwave Imager manufactured by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation has proved to be the most accurately calibrated radiometer in the GPM project’s history. Carried out by NASA’s Precipitation Measurement X-Cal working group, the project serves to measure and record precipitation data from low and medium Earth orbits.

The GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) features a radio frequency receiver with built-in solar protection, allowing it to withstand enormous ranges of heat emanating from the sun. The GMI’s main reflector is also protected with a coating that collects RF energy to divert interference from its high frequency channel data. The device also has two standard calibration points for lower and higher end temperature ranges.

The GMI is the first radiometer which uses noise diodes to improve accuracy, and continuously re-calibrates as it spins at 32 revolutions per minute. The GMI is part of NASA’s GPM satellite constellation consisting of 12 satellites which measure precipitation events (such as rain and snow) across the earth. The satellites deliver information to the GPM Core Observatory which models this information in 3-D visualizations and forecasts potential weather catastrophes such as floods, droughts, and landslides.

A new global map is created every 30 minutes with a resolution of six by six miles. The GPM effort is a result of a collaboration between the United States’ NASA and the Aerospace Exploration Agency of Japan. The job of collecting and organizing GPM’s data will be tasked to OLYMPEX, a ground-based validation field campaign led by the University of Washington and located in the Olympic Peninsula of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies is a subsidiary of Ball Corporation. Founded in 1956, the company is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado and has an extensive working relationship with NASA. The company began as a pointing control manufacturer for military rockets and has participated in building the first seven spacecraft for NASA’s Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO 1-7).

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