Artist concept of Jason

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has selected the Fairchild Space Company, Germantown, Md., for negotiations leading to the award of contract to build satellite for the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX) scheduled for launch in 1991.

The mission, called Topex/Poseidon, is collaborative effort with France. Topex/Poseidon will be launched by the Ariane launch vehicle and France's space agency, Centre National d'Etude Spatiale (CNES), and NASA shall each provide sensors and share the science data from the satellite.

The project will measure the sea level of the global oceans with sufficient accuracy and over long enough period of time to determine the general circulation and surface features such as currents and eddies.

Three firms participated in competition for the implementation phase of the project. They were Fairchild, RCA Astro-Electronics, and Rockwell International Satellite Systems Division.

The contract, which includes monitoring the performance of the satellite, is to run from May 1987 to 1992.

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