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Jump to: Mission Objectives, Mission Instrumentation, Mission Parameters, Additional Information

Mission Photos:
Jason-3 satellite, courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mission Objectives:

The Jason-3 mission is a joint oceanography mission to monitor global ocean circulation, climate change, and sea level rise. The Jason-3 satellite is the follow-on to the TOPEX/POSEIDON, Jason-1, and Jason-2 satellites. Two other instruments, LPT and Carmen-3, will study the radiation environment at the Jason-3 altitude.

Precision orbit determination is a fundamental requirement for achieving the goals of the Jason-3 mission. The SLR data play an important role in two ways: 1) providing strong tracking information to complement GPS and DORIS and 2) providing a unique and unambiguous verification of the absolute radial orbit accuracy.

Mission Instrumentation:

Jason-3 will have the following instrumentation onboard:

  • CNES Poseidon-3 altimeter
  • NASA Advanced Microwave Radiometer (AMR), three-frequency
  • CNES DORIS receiver
  • NASA GPS receiver
  • NASA retroreflector array
  • Time Transfer by Laser Link (T2L2) payload
  • LPT
  • Carmen-3
Mission Parameters:
Sponsor: NASA, CNES, Eumetsat, NOAA
Expected Life: 5 years
Primary Applications: Oceanography and climate change
Primary SLR Application(s): precision orbit determination
COSPAR ID: 1600201
SIC Code: 4379
Satellite Catalog (NORAD) Number: 41240
Launch Date: January 17, 2016
RRA Diameter: 16 cm
RRA Shape: hemispherical
Reflectors: 9 corner cubes
Orbit: circular
Inclination: 66 degrees
Eccentricity: 0.000
Perigee: 1336 km
Period: 112 minutes
Weight: 500 kg (fueled)

Additional Information:

Web sites:


  • Bloßfeld M., Zeitlhofler J., Rudenko S., Dettmering D., "Observation-Based Attitude Realization for Accurate Jason Satellite Orbits and Its Impact on Geodetic and Altimetry Results", Remote Sensing, 12(4), 682, DOI: 10.3390/rs12040682