January 6, 2017

Jason 3

Jason-3 is the third in the French-U.S. Jason family of satellites. It is extends the time-series of ocean surface height data from its orbital perch 1,336 km above Earth.

For the world’s oceanographers, the Jason series of altimetry satellites is simply a vital resource. TOPEX/Poseidon launched in 1992, Jason-1 in 2001 and then Jason-2 in 2008 have revealed that the global sea level is rising at an average rate of 3 mm per year. They have also helped scientists to better understand the vast system of deep and surface ocean currents. Today, they have become a benchmark for other altimetry satellites like SARAL, CryoSat, HY-2A and SWOT, and their operational applications are burgeoning.

Jason-3 assures vital continuity of the ocean data record in the current context of global warming until at least 2020, while also developing operational services. Like its predecessors, it operates in a highly inclined 1,336-km orbit from which it covers 95% of the globe’s ice-free oceans every 10 days. Its instruments are installed on a Proteus spacecraft bus supplied by CNES. In 2020 and 2026, two new Jason satellites—Jason-CS-A/Sentinel-6A and Jason-CS-B/Sentinel-6B—will join it in the same orbit.