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Successful launch of the Jason-3 satellite

Cannes, January 17, 2016 - The Jason-3 satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, was successfully launched by a Falcon 9 rocket (Space X) from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Jason-3 satellite will be placed into the same orbit as Jason-2, at an altitude of 1,336 kilometres with an inclination of 66 degrees, to provide virtually blanket coverage of all ice-free ocean surfaces. Its weight at launch was 553 kilogrammes, with 550 W of power and pointing accuracy of 0.15° (half-cone). Its mission life is scheduled for 3 years.

Jason-3 will provide a bridge to an operational mission to enable the continuation of multi-decadal ocean topography measurements. Jason 3 will also offer the same ocean measurement accuracy as Jason 2, including near coastal zones, as well as lakes and rivers.

The Jason-3 operational oceanographic mission involves a quadripartite collaboration between the two meteorological organizations Eumetsat and NOAA, acting as the leaders of the program, and CNES and its American counterpart NASA.

Based on the Proteus platform, Jason-3 features the Poseidon-3B altimeter, also developed by Thales Alenia Space in Toulouse. The Poseidon-3B dual-frequency altimeter continues to be the key instrument in this spaceborne observation programme. Included in the core mission, Jason-3 will embark the DORIS precise orbit determination system, an Advanced Microwave Radiometer (AMR), a GPS payload (GPSP), and a Laser Retro-reflector Array (LRA).

“The success of the Jason-3 satellite launch is a major step forward in operational oceanography and Thales Alenia Space is delighted to partner the teams working on climate monitoring. Jason-3 satellite will allow the continuity of high precision ocean topography measurements beyond TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2, which are now operational in orbit.” said Jean-Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Thales Alenia Space plays an important role in the success of altimetry missions. Most recently, with the contract to build the Copernicus Sentinel-1C and 1D environmental monitoring satellites, we have proved again our expertise through the Europe's Copernicus program.”

Thales Alenia Space is Europe’s leader in climate change monitoring and is at the heart of environmental initiatives. The company, as a key player, has helped oceanography to become operational. The huge system of surface and deep-water currents drives massive exchanges of heat and energy through all the oceans of the planet and can be considered as one of the main engines of Earth’s climate. Poseidon altimeters played a key role in the depiction and understanding of this phenomenon.


About Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%), is a key European player in space telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, exploration and orbital infrastructures. Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio form the two parent companies' “Space Alliance”, which offers a complete range of services and solutions.Because of its unrivaled expertise in dual (civil/military) missions, constellations, flexible payloads, altimetry, meteorology and high-resolution optical and radar instruments, Thales Alenia Space is the natural partner to countries that want to expand their space program. The company posted consolidated revenues in excess of 2 billion euros in 2014, and has 7,500 employees in eight countries.

Sandrine Bielecki
+33 (0)4 92 92 70 94
Press Officer - Chrystelle Dugimont
+33 (0)4 92 92 74 06