WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency say they've set a launch date for a satellite intended to improve environmental research and weather forecasts.
A Japanese H-IIA rocket will carry the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory satellite into orbit from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center Feb. 27, NASA reported Thursday.
The international satellite mission that will provide advanced observations of rain and snowfall worldwide to enhance our understanding of the water and energy cycles that drive Earth's climate, the space agency said.
Data provided by the Core Observatory will be used to calibrate precipitation measurements made by an international network of partner satellites to quantify when, where, and how much it rains or snows around the world, NASA officials said.
Sensitive instruments on the satellite will measure the size and distribution of raindrops, snowflakes and ice particles around the globe.
"Knowing rain and snow amounts accurately over the whole globe is critical to understanding how weather and climate impact agriculture, fresh water availability, and responses to natural disasters," Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division in Washington, said.