Spacecraft Batteries Charged

At Vandenberg Air Force Base is California, the Jason-3 spacecraft batteries have been charged and the satellite is scheduled to be mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket today. Other prelaunch preparations continue at Space Launch Complex 4 for a launch on Sunday, Jan. 17. The 30-second launch window opens at 10:42:18 a.m. PST. The Launch Readiness Review is scheduled to be held on Friday.

Jason-3 is an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to 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.

Jason-3 is a four-agency international partnership consisting of NOAA, NASA, 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.

Jason-3 Flight Readiness Review and Encapsulation Tomorrow; Static Fire Planned for Sunday

The first full week of 2016 has been a busy one for teams preparing NASA’s Jason-3 spacecraft for its upcoming launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Earth-observing satellite is scheduled to be sealed inside the rocket’s protective payload fairing tomorrow as launch and mission managers convene for the Flight Readiness Review. A static fire to test the Falcon 9’s first stage is planned for Sunday, Jan. 10, followed by mating of the spacecraft and payload fairing to the rocket on Jan. 12.

Steady El Nino rain on California’s central coast has made work challenging at Space Launch Complex 4 throughout the past four days, but launch remains scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 17 at 10:42:18 a.m. PST.

Jason-3 Spacecraft Processing Paused

Processing of the Jason-3 spacecraft at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California continued last week up to the point at which the satellite normally would be fueled. Preparations have been suspended following the SpaceX Falcon 9 mishap that occurred at Cape Canaveral during the liftoff of CRS-7, a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

The Jason-3 spacecraft test team for the French-built satellite will return to France on Tuesday, July 7 until a more definitive launch date for the mission can be determined.

Jason-3 to be Powered On for the First Time Today

The Jason-3 spacecraft was removed from its shipping container over the weekend at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It has been placed on a movable rotation and test fixture inside the payload processing facility at Space Launch Complex-4 East, where it will be powered on for the first time today as a prelude to upcoming testing.

Jason-3 Arrives at Vandenberg to Prep for Aug. 8 Launch

The shipping container holding the Jason-3 spacecraft is removed from the transport aircraft after its arrival at Vandenberg Air Force Base.A 747 transport aircraft carrying the Jason-3 spacecraft touched down at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California today at 10:34 a.m. PDT, concluding a journey from the Thales Alenia Space manufacturing facility in France.

The spacecraft is being taken to the SpaceX payload processing facility located at Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4 East, where it will be readied for liftoff August 8 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the French Space Agency and for Europe’s EUMETSAT. Data from Jason-3 will provide meteorologists and scientists with information about oceans that forecasters need to better predict severe weather and devastating hurricanes before they arrive onshore.The shipping container holding the Jason-3 spacecraft is removed from the transport aircraft after its arrival at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Jason-3 to Measure Ocean Surface for Improved Forecasting

Artist concept of Jason-3 in orbit with solar arrays deployedThe latest in a series of ocean-watching satellites will soon begin final preparations to take its place in Earth orbit. Jason-3 will measure wave heights, including the peaks and valleys across the surface of the world’s oceans. These ocean surface topography measurements will help scientists better understand circulation patterns and observe changes in sea level.

The 1,100-pound spacecraft is the fourth in a series of joint U.S. and European missions designed to monitor long-term sea level rise and provide vital information to forecasters. The program began in 1992 with the launch of TOPEX/Poseidon, and continued with Jason-1 in 2001 and OSTM/Jason-2 in 2008.

Jason-3 will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The satellite will repeat the orbital track taken by its predecessors, measuring wave heights and wind speeds every 9.9 days. Its suite of instruments will produce highly accurate measurements to within at least 1.3 inches.

Stay tuned for our prelaunch milestone updates in the coming weeks! For more information on the Jason-3 mission, visit:

NASA’s Jason-3 Website
NOAA’s Jason-3 Website