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GCOM-W1 (Global Change Observation Mission-Water), a Japanese satellite, was launched from Tanegashima on 17 May 2012 at 16:39 UT by an H-2A rocket. The JAXA satellite, nicknamed Shizuku, which in Japanese means water drop, weighed 1.99 tonnes. It’s the first satellite for the GCOM-W series which will study water circulation systems in the Earth’s atmosphere. The GCOM-W1 will track precipitation, clouds, atmospheric water vapor, sea surface temperatures, sea ice, snow cover, and soil moisture. GCOM-W1 carries The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2), a remote sensing instrument for measuring weak microwave emission from the surface and the atmosphere of the Earth. It is expected to operate in orbit for at least five years.

Alternate Names

  • 38337
  • Global Change Observation Mission-Water 1
  • GCOMW1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2012-05-17
Launch Vehicle: H-2A
Launch Site: Tanegashima, Japan
Mass: 1990 kg

Funding Agency

  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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