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Jason 1 Ocean Satellite Shuts Down

(June-SatelliteToday). After 11 and a half years tracking sea levels, NASA’s satellite Jason 1 has ended its useful life, the agency announced. The satellite was decommissioned this week after its last remaining transmitter failed.

Jason 1 was one of three oceanographic satellites that carried a radar altimeter and bounced radio pulses off the Earth, enabling sea surface height to be determined within a few centimeters. From the data, scientists have enhanced their models of ocean circulation and observed events such as El Nino, where large masses of warm water pool in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Communication with the satellite was lost on June 21 and efforts to re-establish it were unsuccessful. The satellite was ordered to turn off its attitude control systems on Monday. Jason 1 will turn away from the sun and its solar-powered batteries will drain over the next 90 days. The satellite will remain in orbit for at least 1,000 years before it falls back into Earth’s atmosphere.

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