[SatNews] The Jason-3 ocean altimetry satellite was shipped to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on June 17th—the exact launch date in early August will be announced by NOAA in the coming days.
Once operational, Jason-3 will secure the long-term continuity of high-precision ocean altimetry measurements in support of climate monitoring, operational oceanography and seasonal forecasting. This service, currently provided by Jason-2, provides measurements of sea surface height, wind speed at the ocean surface and sea state. Highly accurate measurements of sea surface height are vital for monitoring mean sea level in our changing climate. They also provide one essential input to the ocean forecasting models used in operational oceanography and to the coupled ocean-atmosphere models used for “seasonal forecasting”, i.e. to predict the likelihood of intense cyclonic seasons in the tropics or a mild winter in the mid latitudes.
Jason-3 is the result of an international partnership between EUMETSAT, the French Space Agency (CNES), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In addition, the European Union will fund operations of the Jason-3 satellite as a precursor to the future Copernicus Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission and as the reference mission for calibrating Sentinel-3 altimetry observations.
EUMETSAT, CNES and NOAA will process data from Jason-3, with EUMETSAT ensuring data access for marine users in the EUMETSAT and EU Member States. Data access will be secured via the existing efficient and cost-effective multi-mission infrastructure including the EUMETCast real-time data dissemination system, Earth observation (EO) portal and archives.