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Industry News / Test and Measurement

Ball Aerospace Selected for Second NASA GMI Microwave Imager

December 1, 2009
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Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been selected by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to build a second Global Precipitation Measurement Microwave Imager (GMI) in support of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission.

The identical GMI 1 and GMI 2 Microwave Imagers are multi-channel, conical-scanning, microwave radiometers serving an essential role in the near-global-coverage and frequent-revisit-time requirements of GPM, a mission designed to improve climate, weather and hydrological predictions by providing more accurate precipitation measurements from space. GMI 1 is scheduled to begin full instrument testing at Ball Aerospace by mid-2010. Following completion, the radiometer will fly aboard the GPM space-borne core observatory scheduled to launch in 2013.

"The advanced microwave sensor capabilities of both GMIs will not only improve our understanding of weather and climate, but also enhance predictions for everything from natural hazards to water resource management," said David L. Taylor, President and CEO of Ball Aerospace.

The Ball Aerospace-provided GMI's are central to the success of the GPM mission, as they allow for temporal sampling of rainfall accumulations as well as more frequent and higher quality data collection. Roughly eight-feet tall, each GMI instrument is a powerhouse of radiometry, rotating at 32 revolutions per minute, to qualify scanned data from two very stable calibration points. Ball's rotating mechanism is critical to ensure that rotation occurs at a constant speed for the many years GMI will be on orbit.

The GPM mission will create a reference standard to unify measurements from satellites carrying microwave sensors. Managed by NASA, GPM is a joint effort with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and other international partners to provide a constellation of spacecraft to improve climate and weather predictions through more accurate and frequent precipitation measurements. Ball's GMI 2 is scheduled to launch aboard a second GPM satellite in 2014.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA, and other US government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.


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