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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
Jason-1: Seven Years and Counting!
December 01, 2008

Artists concept of Jason-1
Artists concept of Jason-1
December 7, 2008, 7:07 a.m. Pacific Time marked the 7th anniversary of the Jason-1 launch. The spacecraft has now completed more than 32,250 orbits, accurately measuring the surface topography of 95 percent of the world's ice-free ocean every 10 days for the past seven years. Having completed its three-year primary mission and a two-year extended mission, Jason-1 boasts a 99.97% return rate for delivery of available mission data to the 400+-member international science team as it moves into its eighth year of operation.

With the June 2008 launch of OSTM/Jason-2, Jason-1 became NASA's senior ocean altimetry satellite, taking over the title from its predecessor TOPEX/Poseidon, which ended after more than 13 years of operations in December of 2005. Currently, Jason-1 and OSTM/Jason-2 are traveling in the same orbit; and like a big brother, Jason-1 is leading the way. However, at the end of January 2009, Jason-1 will be maneuvered into a parallel orbit, allowing the two spacecraft to be operated in tandem. In this tandem mode, global ocean coverage will be obtained every 4.5 days, resulting in twice the data acquisition. Jason-1 and TOPEX/Poseidon operated in this configuration for more than three years, proving the double-teaming power of the tandem mission.

Monitoring the ocean by measuring global ocean surface topography has proven to be critical in understanding the ocean's role in climate. Congratulations to the entire Jason-1 team on reaching this important milestone, and we all hope for more years of smooth sailing... above the ocean.

Additional information:
Jason-1 Fact Sheet (PDF, 1 MB)
Jason-1 launch movie (QuickTime, 3.52 MB)

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