BOULDER - Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. announced the successful launch Thursday of an imaging instrument from Japan that will deliver more frequent and higher quality observations of worldwide precipitation.

The Ball-built Global Precipitation Measurement Microwave Imager, or GMI, launched on NASA's GPM Core Observatory satellite onboard an H-IIA launch vehicle.

The GMI is a conical-scanning microwave radiometer that will deliver its observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours. The Core Observatory will be delivering 3-D views of hurricanes and snowstorms, and help monitor and forecast droughts, floods, landslides and other weather events.

"GMI will provide significantly more accurate data to forecasters tracking extreme weather," Ball Aerospace president Rob Strain said in a press release. "GMI's greater accuracy will also enhance the global precipitation dataset used by the world's scientists."

The GMI is flying aboard the Core Observatory along with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar instrument. The DPR provides insights into rain, snow and other precipitation, while the GMI captures precipitation intensity and horizontal patterns.