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The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) was developed and provided to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's EOS Aqua satellite by the National Space Development Agency of Japan, as one of the indispensable instruments for Aqua's mission. AMSR-E is a modified version of AMSR that was launched December 2002 aboard the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite-II (ADEOS-II). It is a six-frequency dual-polarized total-power passive microwave radiometer that observes water-related geophysical parameters supporting global change science and monitoring efforts. The hardware improvements over existing spaceborne microwave radiometers for Earth imaging include the largest main reflector of its kind and addition of 6.925-GHz channels. These improvements provide finer spatial resolution and the capability to retrieve sea surface temperature and soil moisture information on a global basis. This paper provides an overview of the instrument characteristics, mission objectives, and data products.