Launched in January 2016, the Jason-3 operational oceanography satellite recently passed its in-orbit acceptance review. Jason-3 is a quadripartite program between Eumetsat and NOAA (the European and American weather satellite organizations), and the French and American space agencies, CNES and NASA.
Built by Thales Alenia Space, this French-American satellite is mainly designed to measure ocean heights to within less than 4 centimeters (about 1-1/2 inches) from its orbit at 1,336 kilometers (830 miles). It determines the position of ocean currents and tides, measures wave heights, wind speeds, etc. All of this data is vital for ocean forcasting and for activities such as fishing, maritime navigation, at-sea search and rescue, etc.
The height of our oceans is in fact one of the most telling indicators of global warming. Oceans surveillance can be useful to forecast the risks of hurricanes and other weather events.
Jason-3 will ensure data continuity with the high-precision ocean topography measurements provided by Jason-1 and -2. Jason-3 can overfly 95% of all ice-free ocean surfaces every 10 days.
© © Thales Alenia Space/Imag[IN]
© CNES/David Ducros - © Thales Alenia Space/Imag[IN]