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Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)

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Status: Completed
Mission Category: Precipitation Missions
Launch Date: November 27, 1997
Launch Location: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan
Designed Life: November 27, 2000

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). It was designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall and the associated release of energy that helps to power the global atmospheric circulation, shaping both weather and climate around the globe.

TRMM was originally designed to carry out a three-year mission, but has operated successfully for over eight years. TRMM completed all of its research and technology objectives by 2001, and provided data used worldwide in the monitoring and forecasting of hazardous weather on a demonstration basis . NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) stopped TRMM’s science operations and data collection on April 8, 2015 after the spacecraft depleted its fuel reserves.

Key Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Facts

Mission/Portal Page:
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 402km
Inclination: 35°
Origination: Joint with Japan
Instruments: CERES (Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System)
LIS (Lightning Imaging Sensor)
PR (Precipitation Radar)
TMI (TRMM Microwave Imager)
VIRS (Visible and Infrared Scanner)
Project Scientist(s): Scott Braun

Related Publications:

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Climate Variability and Change
  • Water and Energy Cycles
  • Weather

Relevant Science Questions:

  • How does the Earth system respond to natural and human-induced changes?
  • How is the global Earth system changing?
  • How will the Earth system change in the future?

Science Goals:

  • Obtain and study multiyear science data sets of tropical and subtropical rainfall measurements.
  • Understand how interactions between the sea, air, and land masses produce changes in global rainfall and climate.
  • Improve modeling of tropical rainfall processes and their influence on global circulation in order to predict rainfall and its variability at various periods of time.
  • Test, evaluate, and improve satellite rainfall measurement techniques.

Related Applications:

  • Air Quality
  • Aviation
  • Disaster Management
  • Energy Management
  • Invasive Species
  • Public Health
  • Water Management