Artist's impression of the Jason-3 satellite
|Mission type||Earth orbiter|
|Website||Ocean Surface Topography from Space|
|Mission duration||5 years (design)|
|Manufacturer||Thales Alenia Space|
|Launch mass||525 kg|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||January 17, 2016 18:42:18GMT (planned)|
|Rocket||Falcon 9 v1.1|
|Launch site||Vandenberg SLC-4E|
Jason-3 is an international Earth observation satellite mission that continues the sea surface height measurements begun in 1992 by the joint NASA/CNES TOPEX/Poseidon mission, followed by the NASA/CNES Jason-1 mission launched in 2001 and Jason-2 mission in 2008.
Jason-3 was originally planned for launch on July 22, 2015. However, this date was pushed back to August 19 following the discovery of contamination in one of the satellites thrusters, requiring the thruster to be replaced and further inspected. The launch was further delayed following the failure of a Falcon 9 rocket on the SpaceX CRS-7 mission. The satellite is currently scheduled for launch on January 17, 2016, aboard the final Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket.
The science objectives for Jason-3 are:
- Extend the time series of ocean surface topography measurements beyond TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 to accomplish two decades of observations
- Provide a minimum of three years of global ocean surface topography measurement
- Determine the variability of ocean circulation at decadal time scales from combined data record of TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1
- Improve the measure of the time-averaged ocean circulation
- Improve the measure of global sea-level change
- Improve open ocean tide models
The satellite is built around a Proteus satellite bus, built by Thales Alenia Space under contract from CNES. A pair of deployable, tracking solar arrays supply a total of 580 watts of power. Four hydrazine monopropellant thrusters are used for orbital maneuvering. Attitude control is provided by reaction wheels, with magnetorquers used to periodically despin the wheels. Jason-3 weighs about 525 kg at launch, with a dry mass of 500 kg.
Jason-3 carries five main instruments. The primary instrument is the Poseidon-3B Altimeter, which is derived from the Poseidon-3 carried on Jason-2. The other main instruments are Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS), Advanced Microwave Radiometer-2 (AMR-2), Global Positioning System Payload (GPSP), and Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA). Two additional "passenger instruments" are carried as part of the Joint Radiation Experiment. These are CARMEN-3 (Characterization and Modeling of Environment), which measures charged particle flux, and Light Particle Telescope (LPT), which measures radiation and charged particles.
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