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Contact: Mary Hardin, (818) 354-0344
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDecember 6, 1998
TOPEX/POSEIDON TEAM TO RECEIVE PECORA AWARD AT AGU
The TOPEX/Poseidon Team is the recipient of the 1998 William
T. Pecora award which will be presented by NASA Administrator
Daniel S. Goldin at the conclusion of his keynote address at the
American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco at 5:30
p.m. Pacific time, Sunday, December 6.
The William T. Pecora Award, sponsored jointly by the
Department of the Interior and NASA, is presented annually to
recognize outstanding contributions of individuals or groups who
study the Earth with remote sensing. The award was established in
1974 in memory of Dr. William T. Pecora, former Director of the
U.S. Geological Survey, and Under Secretary, Department of the
Interior. Pecora was a motivating force behind the establishment
of a program for civil remote sensing of the Earth from space.
His early vision and support helped establish what we know today
as the Landsat satellite program.
Charles Yamarone, the TOPEX/Poseidon Project Manager at
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Jean Louis Fellous,
Assistant Director of the Earth Science and Applications
Programme Directorate from the French space agency Centre
National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), will receive the award on
behalf of the TOPEX/Poseidon Team.
The TOPEX/Poseidon satellite uses an altimeter to bounce
radar signals off the ocean's surface to get precise measurements
of the distance between the satellite and the sea surface. These
data are combined with measurements from other instruments that
pinpoint the satellite's exact location in space. Every 10 days,
scientists produce a complete map of global ocean topography, the
barely perceptible hills and valleys found on the sea surface.
Launched in August 1992, TOPEX/Poseidon's measurements are
accurate to within 4.2 centimeters (1.7 inches).
The TOPEX/Poseidon satellite has been instrumental in
tracking the evolution of the 1997-98 El Nino event.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology,
manages the satellite for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise,