In the SpaceX Payload Processing Facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Jason-3 satellite is prepared for encapsulation in its payload faring. Jason-3 is an international partnership consisting of NOAA, NASA, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales - France’s space agency - and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. Thales Alenia of France built the spacecraft. Liftoff of Jason-3 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is targeted for the opening of a 30-second launch window at 10:42:18 a.m. PST (1:42 EST) on Sunday, Jan. 17 from Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The Jason-3 mission will continue U.S.-European satellite measurements of the topography of the ocean surface. It will continue the ability to monitor and precisely measure global sea surface heights, monitor the intensification of tropical cyclones and support seasonal and coastal forecasts. Jason-3 data also will benefit fisheries management, marine industries and research into human impacts on the world’s oceans. The mission is planned to last at least three years, with a goal of five years.