Press Release

Jason 1 Ready for Service, Releases First Data

By SpaceRef Editor
February 28, 2002
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Following an in-depth performance review by NASA and the
French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, the Jason 1
oceanography satellite has been declared ready for operational
service.

With the initiation of its operations phase, Jason has
begun to generate its first science products on its mission to
monitor global climate interactions between the sea and the
atmosphere. Initial maps of sea-level anomalies, significant
wave height and ocean wind speed confirm the health of the
spacecraft science instruments and the mission’s ability to
meet its data turnaround requirements.

Team managers from the French Space Agency’s Satellite
Control Center in Toulouse, France, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., report Jason’s satellite,
payload and ground segment are all functioning properly. This
declaration paves the way for the start of the mission’s
scientific validation phase.

“Our first assessments show a surprising level of
accuracy, exceeding that of Jason’s predecessor,
Topex/Poseidon,” said Dr. Lee-Lueng Fu, Jason project
scientist at JPL. “The mission’s ambitious goal of
determining the satellite’s altitude with one-centimeter (.39
inches) accuracy therefore appears within reach. The first
altimetry products also show a close match with measurements
acquired by Topex/Poseidon.”

Launched December 7, 2001, from Vandenberg Air Force
Base, Calif., Jason will continue Topex/Poseidon’s
observations of ocean surface topography for monitoring world
ocean circulation, studying interactions of the oceans and
atmosphere, improving climate predictions and observing events
like El Niño.

The excellent results of Jason’s on-orbit checkout mean
the next phase of the mission can now begin. Science data
will be distributed to the mission’s science team, and work
will begin to conduct a precise scientific assessment of
product quality and to cross-calibrate Jason and
Topex/Poseidon products. Following completion of this six-
month scientific validation phase, science data products will
be released to the public.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology
in Pasadena, manages the U.S. portion of the mission for
NASA’s Office of Earth Science, Washington, D.C.

SpaceRef staff editor.