Who: Jason-3 Ocean-monitoring satellite
Where: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
What: Launched by the NASA
When: 17 January 2016
Why: To examine the topography of the ocean floor
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 17 January 2016 launched the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in the USA.
The rocket carried the ocean monitoring satellite Jason-3 on board and successfully inserted it in the desired orbit. However, the rocket failed a return landing on a drone platform in the Pacific Ocean.
The Jason-3 satellite will examine the topography of the ocean floor to help study effects of climate change or human-induced changes on the ocean.
Features of Jason-3 Mission
• It is the fourth mission in U.S.-European series of satellite missions that measure the height of the ocean surface.
• It is also expected to help the USA in better forecasting of hurricane forecasting and marine navigation.
• It will extend the time series of ocean surface topography measurements (the hills and valleys of the ocean surface) begun by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite mission in 1992 and continuing through the currently operating Jason-1 and Jason-2 missions.
• The Jason-1 and OSTM/Jason-2 missions were launched in 2001 and 2008 respectively.
• These measurements provide scientists with critical information about circulation patterns in the ocean and about both global and regional changes in sea level and the climate implications of a warming world.
• The primary instrument on Jason-3 is a radar altimeter. The altimeter will measure sea-level variations over the global ocean with very high accuracy (as 1.3 inches or 3.3 centimeters, with a goal of achieving 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters).