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13 October 2010 The Jason-3 Mission: completing the transition of ocean altimetry from research to operations
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The Jason-3 mission is planned as a follow-on mission to the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2, to continue the core satellite altimetry measurements for physical oceanography. In addition, a key long-term vision of the founders of this measurement will come to reality: the transitioning from research to operational applications of this valuable measurement. Jason-3 builds upon the heritage of foundational and transitional missions such as SEASAT (1978), GEOSAT (1985), TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P, 1992), Jason-1 (2001) and OSTM/Jason-2 (2008), which have led to the understanding and development of a wide range of oceanographic applications of satellite altimetry. With the successful development and operation of the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 missions, the Franco-American cooperation in ocean altimetry has grown with a steady vision of expanding this measurement towards operational applications. As such, the T/P and Jason-1 missions were developed by NASA and CNES, and subsequently NOAA and EUMETSAT have taken on key partnership roles by providing mission operations services for the OSTM/Jason-2 project. For Jason-3, NOAA and EUMETSAT are the lead agencies with CNES and NASA as key partners providing mission development support. With a planned project start in early 2010 and a launch target of mid-2013, Jason-3 is planned as a recurring mission from OSTM/Jason-2 to minimize satellite development risk as well as to ensure the continuity of measurements after OSTM/Jason-2. The Jason-3 satellite is planned to operate at the same 1336 km, 66 deg. inclination reference orbit with essentially the same on-board instrumentation as OSTM/Jason-2. The instrument suite will consist of a dual-frequency Nadir Altimeter, a Microwave Radiometer, and three Precision Orbit Determination instruments (Global Positioning System - GPS, Doppler Orbitography and Radio-positioning Integrated by Satellite -DORIS, and Laser Retroreflector Array - LRA). Fulfilling the goals of moving satellite altimetry onto routine operations will require a close cooperation and coordination of international, multi-agency mission managers, designers, engineers, scientists and operational systems developers. This paper presents the Jason-3 mission formulation and development plans, and highlights the key aspects of making this multidimensional project move towards reality.
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Parag Vaze, Steven Neeck, Walid Bannoura, Joseph Green, Angelo Wade, Michael Mignogno, Gerard Zaouche, Veronique Couderc, Eric Thouvenot, and Francois Parisot "The Jason-3 Mission: completing the transition of ocean altimetry from research to operations", Proc. SPIE 7826, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XIV, 78260Y (13 October 2010);

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