The Jason-3 satellite arrived today at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base after a journey from France in preparation for launch Aug. 8, 2015, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Jason-3 will continue a 23-year effort to monitor Earth’s global ocean, tracking sea level rise, ocean heat content and sea-surface height. Additionally, Jason-3 data will help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration accurately predict when tropical cyclones will intensify.
NASA’s Launch Services Program is looking for a couple of launch vehicles suited to the needs of CubeSats, small spacecraft that fit inside a 4-inch cube. After five years of launching cubes as secondary payloads on larger missions, the industry has matured to the point that designers and scientists are able to perform significant science in Earth and space studies. Along the way, a backlog of about 50 CubeSat missions has built up, so the agency wants to put a new small rocket to use that is capable of sending an assortment of the small satellites into orbit at one time. Read more about the draft proposal at http://go.nasa.gov/1JTwRPz