Climate changes under space observation – Jason-3 observation satellite launch planned on 31st January 2016

JASON-3 observation satellite will be launched with FALCON-9 1.1V rocket from launch site SLC-4 in Vandenberg, USA.

Climate changes are under constant control from space. Since 1959, when first weather satellite was launched, much has changed. Weather and climate observation gone under civilian control (first satellite from 1959 was project of Department of Navy) and become more accurate and dependable. Good example of huge changing the way of understanding role of space technology can be Ocean Surface Topography Mission. It is civilian, international program created by NASA, CNES, NOAA and EUMETSAT. Its main purpose is to improve weather forecasting especially in terms of great and unstable weather phenomenon like El Nino. Since now 3 satellites were launched: Topex/Poseidon (1992) Jason-1 (2001), Jason-2 (2008). Jason-3 will fourth satellite in constellation. It is made by Thales-Alenia Space, utilizing Proteus Bus, platform designed in .90 to reduce costs of designing and manufacturing satellites. Jason-3 is equipped with such instruments like: Poseidon class Ku/C-band radar, microwave radiometer (working on frequencies: 18.7, 23.8, and 34.0 GHz) and advanced navigation system called POD. It stays for Precise Orbit Determination consisting of the following components - GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver, DORIS (Doppler Orbitography and Radio Positioning Integrated by Satellite), and a LRA (Laser Retroreflector Array). Data gathered by instruments will not be shared only between NASA, CNES, NOAA and EUMETSAT. In 2012 EUMETSAT signed agreement with Chinese NSOAS (National Satellite Ocean Application Service) - in terms of this arrangement Jason-3 mission data will be available for NSOAS. In exchange for this data EUMETSAT will obtain data from Chinese HY-1 and HY-2 ocean-color satellites.

Falcon-9 1.1V is upgraded version 1.0 of Falcon. It has 60% more thrust and it is 19.6 m higher with same diameter. Dimension changes were forced by more powerful engines in 1.1V - Merlin-1d engine uses more fuel, so tanks were increased for about 60%. Changes were economically justified. Cost of single launch of 1.2V compared to 1.1V dropped for around $1.7 million and payload for LEO changed from 10,454 kilograms] to 13,150 kilograms. In spite of many significant changes Falcon is still two stages, liquid fueled rocket. First stage propulsion is provided with 9 Merlin-1D engines with total thrust at 5885 kN, second stage is powered with vacuum version of Merlin-1D engine providing thrust at 801 kN. Both stages are fueled with liquid oxygen and rocket - grade kerosene.