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NASA Joins Partners for Ocean Surface Topography Mission


April 11, 2006, NASA has signed an agreement with other U.S. and international agencies to launch the Ocean Surface Topography Mission in 2008.

The satellite, named Jason-2, will increase our understanding of ocean circulation and improve climate forecasts and measurements of global sea-level change. The 3- to 5-year mission will extend the ocean topography measurements collected since 1992, first by TOPEX/Poseidon and now by Jason.

NASA is cooperating with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) on this mission.

“This agreement substantially advances the continuation of a long-term record of sea-level measurements based on satellite measurements of sea level height, which are needed to understand ocean circulation and its long-term climate effects,” said Eric Lindstrom, NASA’s Ocean Surface Topography Mission program scientist. The mission will also study how ocean circulation varies from season to season, from year to year and from decade to decade. It will improve the measure of global sea-level change and models of tides in the open ocean.

Operational organizations and researchers will use the data in marine meteorology and sea-state forecasting, operational oceanography, seasonal forecasting, climate and ocean monitoring and Earth and climate research.

NASA will provide several of the mission’s science instruments, including an advanced microwave radiometer, laser retroreflector array and Global Positioning System payload receiver package. NASA will also provide launch services on a Boeing Delta II rocket.

NOAA will provide a satellite-control center, stations for commanding the spacecraft and acquiring data, data processing, and the infrastructure for archiving and distributing mission data. After the satellite’s launch and an engineering assessment, CNES will hand over management of the satellite to NOAA.

CNES will provide a PROTEUS satellite platform and payload module. They will also provide several of the science instruments, including a Poseidon-3 dual-frequency radar altimeter and the Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite orbit-determination system. They will also provide a satellite command and control center, data processing and infrastructure for archiving and distributing mission data.

EUMETSAT will provide a site and infrastructure for the European Earth terminal, which will be integrated into the EUMETSAT ground segment infrastructure. They will also provide data processing and an infrastructure for archiving and distributing mission data.

The agreement was signed Monday April 10. For information about the mission, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
Additional points of contact: Alan Buis, JPL (; John Leslie, NOAA ( Sandra Laly, CNES ( and Claudia Ritsert-Clarke, EUMETSAT (


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