March 2, 2017


The JASON-2 satellite is composed of:

  • a PROTEUS spacecraft bus (Plate-forme Reconfigurable pour l'Observation, pour les Télécommunications et les Usages Scientifiques). This bus is designed for satellites weighing approximately 500 kg when launched.

  • a payload with the following main instruments:

    • Poseidon-3 altimeter, measuring the distance between the satellite and the sea surface, and used to perform precise corrections in relation to the signal trajectory in the ionosphere (CNES contribution)
    • AMR (Advanced Microwave Radiometer), designed to identify the water content in the troposphere (NASA contribution)
    • DORIS system used for precise orbit determination (CNES contribution)
    • GPSP system (GPS Payload), in addition to DORIS, to calculate satellite positioning (NASA contribution)
    • LRA (Laser Retroreflector Array) instrument used for the precise calibration of other instruments for the analysis of laser pulses conducted from the ground and reflected onboard by an array of mirrors (NASA contribution)

  • and three 'passenger' instruments:

    • CARMEN2 dosimeter used to improve knowledge of particularly aggressive radiation in Jason's orbit (DORIS, electronic risk assessment) (CNES contribution)
    • LPT (Light Particles Telescope) another dosimeter (JAXA/CNES contribution)
    • T2L2 (Time Transfer by Laser Link) used to synchronize remote clocks with very high precision (CNES contribution)

JASON-2 satellite main characteristics
Mass525 kg
Power511 W
S band telemetry 838.86 kbits/s for telemetry,
4 kbits/s for telecommand
Mission lifetime5 years

The satellite was sent into orbit by a Delta2 launch vehicle supplied by NASA on 20 June 2008, from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California.