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Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission


Designation 25063 / 97074A
Launch date 27 Nov 1997
Country of origin United States
Mission Remote sensing
Perigee/Apogee 350 km (raised to 402 km in Aug 2001 for additional lifetime)
Inclination 35°
Launch vehicle H2 #5

The volume of rainfall in the tropics accounts for about two-thirds of total rainfall on the earth. Acting as the "engine" of the atmospheric cycle, this rainfall has a major influence on climate formation on a global scale. TRMM is a satellite that will measure the amount and distribution of rainfall in tropical and meta-tropical areas. Remote sensing of rainfall by the satellite will make a major contribution in predicting climatic changes on a global scale, providing long-range predictions on abnormal weather created by the E1 Nino phenomenon, and helping to prevent natural disasters.

TRMM is a joint project of Japan and the United States. It is worth $512 million

The mission is to be shutdown in 2005 because of budget costs. A safe and controlled reentry is then planned. It ran out of fuel in Jul 2014 and a safe drift down is being monitored and observation maintained till 350 km.

End of life

Out of service 8 Apr 2015
Cause Science payload switched off, depleted fuel reserves
Decay 16 Jun 2015

External resources


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Technical data


Prime contractor NASA GSFC
Mass at launch 3820 kg
Mass in orbit  
Solar array  
DC power  
Design lifetime 3 years

Acquisition via TDRS
Telemetry/Data: 2255.5 MHz (upto 2 Mbps)
Command: 2076.94 MHz (500 or 1024 bps)


PR: Precipitation Radar (Ku-band)
TMI: TRMM Microwave Imager
VIRS: Visible and Infrared Scanner
CERES: Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System
LIS: Lightning Imaging Sensor

The CERES instrument (TRW-built) is the first of a series of 6 to fly. CERES is a scanning broadband radiometer that measures reflected sunlight and emitted thermal energy from the surface of the Earth and the atmosphere. The radiometer is made up of three sensors, each with its own telescope mounted on a gimballed platform that continuously scans across the Earth in a 6.6-second cycle.

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