||2002 News Releases
JPL Takes Helm on Oceanography Mission
April 26, 2002
Top image is from Jason-1
Bottom image is from Topex/Poseidon
The maps depict the sea-surface height anomaly (departure from mean) for the 10-day period March 25, 2002 to April 4, 2002 (Jason-1 repeat cycle 8; Topex/Poseidon repeat cycle 351).
Jason 1's oceanography mission to monitor global climate interactions
between the sea and atmosphere reached another major milestone this week
with the successful handover of day-to-day operations from the French Centre
National d'Etudes Spatiales to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
With the handover, JPL is now responsible for around-the-clock real-time
monitoring of Jason 1's health and status, and for generating and uploading
weekly stored command sequences to the spacecraft. These sequences
contain data for mission planning, payload commanding, navigation, ground
station acquisition and routine maintenance functions.
The French Space Agency's Satellite Control Center in Toulouse, France,
will continue to perform spacecraft engineering and navigation tasks. Both
organizations will be jointly responsible for processing mission science data.
"Jason's measurement performance to date has been excellent," said Dr.
Lee-Lueng Fu, Jason project scientist at JPL. "The early mission phases have
been very smooth. This success is due in large part to the hard work and
outstanding cooperation between the U.S. and French teams, who continue to
work together to leverage experience and efficiencies gleaned from a decade
of joint Topex/Poseidon operations. We look forward to continuing to work
with the French to establish routine mission operations."
Much like its Topex/Poseidon predecessor, the Jason program's shared
operations management approach is designed to maximize efficiencies and
make the most of the two space agencies' differing program roles and
expertise. The French Space Agency managed Jason 1 satellite development,
engineering and delivery from the French aerospace company Alcatel, so the
program's early post-launch checkout phases were conducted by the French.
NASA, by contrast, is responsible for two of the mission's three ground
tracking stations in Wallops Island, Va., and Poker Flats, Alaska, (the other is
in Aussaguel, France), so JPL has responsibility for oversight of day-to-day
routine mission operations.
During the next six months, Jason science data will be distributed to the
mission's science team, and work will begin to conduct a precise scientific
assessment of product quality through cross-calibration of Jason products with
those of Topex/Poseidon. A science working team meeting will be conducted
at the end of this six-month validation phase in October to verify that Jason
data are accurate, correctly calculated and meeting program requirements.
Science data products will then become available to the public.
Launched December 7, 2001, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.,
Jason's scheduled five-year mission will continue Topex/Poseidon's
observations of ocean surface topography for monitoring world ocean
circulation, studying interactions of the oceans and atmosphere, improving
climate predictions and observing events like El Niņo.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena,
manages the U.S. portion of the Jason mission for NASA's Office of Earth
Science, Washington, D.C.
Contacts: JPL/Alan Buis (818) 354-0474
NASA Headquarters/David E. Steitz (202) 358-1730
Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales/Eliane Moreaux