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TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) is the first space mission dedicated to quantitatively measuring tropical and subtropical rainfall which is one of the most important and least-known parameters affecting the global climate system.

TRMM is a joint project between Japan and the United States in 1986. The National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) is responsible for developing a key instrument, the Precipitation Radar (PR), in collaboration with the Communications Research Laboratory (CRL) of Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and
Telecommunications. NASDA provided the launch of the TRMM satellite by H-2 rocket.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for the development of the spacecraft and four instruments including

  • the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI),
  • the Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS),
  • the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES), and the
  • Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS),

and satellite operations using the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) System.

After 17 years of successful operations, NASA and JAXA stopped TRMM's science operations and data collection on 8 April 2015 after the spacecraft depleted its fuel reserves. It reentered uncontrolled on 16 June 2015.

Nation: USA, Japan
Type / Application: Earth observation
Operator: NASA, NASDA
Contractors: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Equipment: PR, TMI, VIRS, CERES, LIS
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 3 years (design); 17 years (achieved)
Mass: 3620 kg
Orbit: 367 km × 385 km, 35
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
TRMM 1997-074A 27.11.1997 Ta YLP-1 H-2 with ETS 7-Chaser, ETS 7-Target


  • NSSDC Master Catalog: TRMM
Further Earth Probe missions:

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