All Aquarius electrical interfaces have successfully been connected to the SAC-D service platform (S/P). The S/P has now replaced the Aquarius Electrical Ground Support Equipment -- i.e., all the non-flight test equipment that was used to connect to Instrument to power and communicate -- for the operation of the instrument. Thus, Aquarius is now receiving power and commands from the S/P and Aquarius telemetry and hi-rate data are being returned via the S/P. Telemetry and data files downlinked by the S/P match the files collected from an Aquarius direct-access test port, verifying the data flow from the instrument through the S/P.
Aquarius/SAC-D is an international mission involving NASA and Argentina's space agency, ComisÃn Nacional de Actividades Espaciales. Aquarius, the primary instrument on the mission, was built jointly by JPL and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. It will provide monthly global maps of how the concentration of dissolved salt (known as salinity) varies on the ocean surface. Salinity is a key tracer for understanding the ocean's role in Earth's water cycle and understanding ocean circulation.
By measuring ocean salinity from space, Aquarius will provide new insights into how the massive natural interplay of freshwater moving among the ocean, atmosphere and sea ice influences Earth's ocean circulation, weather and climate.
For more information on Aquarius, visit http://www.aquarius.nasa.gov.