Airbus Defence and Space is building the satellites for the European Space Agency (ESA), in collaboration with the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the European Commission, for the Copernicus program. United States partners are participating in the mission implementation and operations.
The Poseidon 4 altimeter introduces a new, “interleaved” Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operating mode for higher performance than the previous generation. The altimeter will also feature a new architecture, improving the role of the digital functions to support higher stability of the performances and eventually reduce development costs. The sensor will simultaneously supply low spatial resolution data to ensure continuity with previous Jason missions, and high-resolution data.
Radar altimeters measure the height of the ocean surface, along with measurements of ocean dynamics and currents, wave height and wind strength at the surface. More recently they have also taken measurements of river and lake height. All of this data is used for meteorological and oceanographic research.