Artist concept of Jason

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, Washington, DC.

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