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GPM Satellite Tested on Goddard's Centrifuge | by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
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GPM Satellite Tested on Goddard's Centrifuge

April 1, 2011


NASA technicians spun the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite up to just over 10 RPM in Goddard Space Flight Center’s High-Capacity Centrifuge facility March 31. At that speed, the spin exerted a lateral pressure of 2.4 G’s, or 2.4 times the force of gravity on the satellite.


Spin tests such as these are used to determine whether the forces of launch could adversely affect hardware we put into space, and to test spacecraft chassis design.


In this case, a combination of flight hardware parts and the so-called mass model were spun. The mass model simulates the final size, shape and weight distribution of the satellite and it’s component sensors, fuel, maneuvering thrusters, processing and control equipment.


GPM will study global rain, snow and ice to better understand our climate, weather, and hydrometeorological processes. For more on the GPM mission, visit


Goddard’s 120-foot-diameter centrifuge can accelerate a 2.5-ton payload up to 30 Gs, well beyond the force experienced in a launch. The most intense roller-coasters in the world top out at about 5 Gs, and then only for brief moments. The 2.4 Gs experienced by GPM would be sufficient to prevent blood from flowing up into a person’s brain, inducing blackout if sustained.


Karl B. Hille


Photo Credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth


To learn more about GPM go to:


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.


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Taken on March 31, 2011