The launch of Jason-3 had been postponed following the mishap of the Falcon-9 launcher on 28 June when the programme partners —CNES, NASA, Eumetsat and NOAA— decided to interrupt the launch campaign to leave time for all necessary investigations to return the launcher to flight. Thursday 10 December, after the Falcon-9 launcher successfully came through a series of NASA launch readiness reviews, the launch of Jason-3 was rescheduled for 17 January 2016. All CNES, Thales, NASA and SpaceX teams are now working together to meet this launch date.
Jason-3 is the result of a collaboration between CNES, NASA, Eumetsat and NOAA, pursuing the mission of its predecessor satellites that have been surveying the oceans for more than 20 years. Jason-3 is built around a Proteus bus accommodating a suite of altimetry instruments that will continue the highly precise measurements of sea-surface height begun with TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2.
The Jason-3 mission will assure long-term data continuity as a key element in the fleet of altimetry satellites set to operate in the years ahead. It features a number of improvements over its predecessor Jason-2, both in systems and data processing. Today, more than 10,000 people in over 120 countries are using data from altimetry missions for applications that are crucial to meet the challenges of a changing climate, allowing them to model the oceans, weather and climate, and supporting operational oceanography.
For CNES, 2015 has been a year focused on climate, culminating in the COP21 climate conference that came to a close this weekend in Paris. The rise in mean sea level measured by altimetry satellites is one of the clearest indicators of global warming. Jason-3 is an especially important mission in this respect and CNES has once again brought all of its expertise to bear in developing it.