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Oceanography satellite completes 11-year mission – Spaceflight Now



The concept of the artist of the spacecraft "Jason 2" in orbit. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

A joint US-Europe satellite mission, which measured sea level rise for 11 years, ends due to a wreck of the spacecraft's power system, officials said Friday.

The Jason 2 satellite was scheduled to be operational for three to five years, but survived its lifetime and continued to collect accurate sea level measurements by launching a replacement spacecraft – Jason 3 – in January 2016.

During his 11-year mission, Jason 2 recorded nearly 2 centimeters (5 centimeters) of global sea level rise, observational scientists explain the rise in average global temperatures.

"Today we celebrate the end of this hugely successful international mission," said Thomas Zurbbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "Jason-2 / OSTM has provided a unique understanding of the ocean currents and sea level rise with significant benefits for sea forecasting, meteorology and our understanding of climate change."

Ground commands noticed signs of aging on the Jason 2 satellite in 2017, and officials ordered dispatchers at NOAA's Maryland Satellite Operations Center to command the spacecraft to move from its original 830 miles (1336 kilometers) to orbit. from other operational missions.

Jason 2 also depleted excess fuel reserves in 2017, but the satellite continued to collect scientific data. Lower orbit meant that measurements of the same location in the Jason 2 ocean were rarer, but the resolution of the data improved, allowing scientists to conduct marine gravity and map the seafloor topography.

The Jason 2 satellite, also called the Oceanic Topography Mission, was launched on June 20 aboard the Landing 2 Missile from the Wendenberg Air Force Base, California.

Jason 2 is a joint mission developed and funded by NASA, NOAA, the French space agency CNES and Eumetsat, which owns and manages European weather satellites.

Global sea level has been steadily rising since the early 1990s, measured by Jason 2 / OSTM, its previous missions, and Jason 3. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech [19659002] Issues with the Jason 2 power system have prompted mission leaders in recent weeks. " passivate the spacecraft and terminate the mission to reduce the risk that the satellite will become a source of space debris. Jason 2 completed scientific observations on October 1, and the satellite will be decommissioned on October 10, officials said

. "," the mission partners said.

The mission cost $ 432 million in economic terms in 2008. About 60 percent of the funding came from Europe to build the satellite and its main radar, and 40 percent came from the US government to pay for launching Jason 2 on the Delta 2 rocket, part of the satellite's payload and mission operations.

"Jason-2 / OSTM was the high point of operational satellite oceanography as Jason's first mission to formally include Eumetsat and NOAA as partners," said Steve Waltz, Assistant Administrator of NOAA Satellite and Information Services. "During its 11-year run, Jason-2 / OSTM helped to improve NOAA hurricane intensity forecasts and provided important observations of sea winds and waves and, in doing so, consolidated these important ocean altimetry observations in NOAA operating systems."

During his mission, Jason's Poseidon 3 tool bounced radar beams off the ocean surface and measured the exact distance, determining the time it took to get reflected waves by a spacecraft.

Jason 2 became the third in a series of satellite missions developed by French and US scientific agencies. The Topex / Poseidon spacecraft launched in 1996 and ceased surveillance in 2005. Jason 1 launched in 2001, and ground controllers lost touch with it in 2013 after it failed.

"Not only did Jason 2 expand the precise climate created by Topex / Poseidon and continued by Jason 1, he also made invaluable observations for small and medium-scale ocean exploration in its second intertwined orbit," said Jean-President Le Gaulle CNES. "Even moving into the orbit of the cemetery, Jason-2 continued to make unprecedented new observations of the Earth's gravitational field with accurate measurements to the end."

The Sentinel 6A satellite replacing the still-existing Jason 3 Mission is being tested in Europe in preparation for launch in November 2020 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard SpaceX Falcon 9.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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