Launched by NASA-NOAA and manoeuverd in orbit by CNES Toulouse
Joint project of:
NOAA, NASA, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES, France’s governmental space agency) and European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).
Excerpts via BBC:
WEDNESDAY, 16 MARCH 2016
"Just over a month after launch, Jason-3, a U.S.-European oceanography satellite mission with NASA participation, has produced its first complete science map of global sea surface height, capturing the current signal of the 2015-16 El Niño."
#Jason3 a commencé sa mission de mesure de la hauteur des océans et a détecté El Niño dans le Pacifique
The primary instrument onboard Jason-3 is its radar altimeter.
cf. CNES AVISO site
(CNES image from above link)
Information from NOAA Satellite and Information Service link and the above CNES link
An altimeter provided by CNES. It has an antenna which emits a radar beam or radiowave/microwave that travels to the Earth surface and is then reflected back (to the antenna). “By measuring the round-trip travel time of the emitted beam, and by using the precise location of the satellite, surface altitude can then be derived within a few centimeters.”
Additional information from NOAA factsheet:
"Poseidon-3 emits pulses at two frequencies (13.6 GHz in the Ku band and 5.3 GHz in the C band) to measure very accurately the distance from the satellite to the sea surface and then to derive the surface altitude(within a few centimeters) using its precise location of the satellite. The two frequencies are used to determine the atmospheric electron content. Free electrons in the atmosphere can delay the signal’s return, which affects the radar signal path delay and measurement accuracy. The delay is directly related to the radar frequency, so the difference between the two measurements can be used to determine atmospheric electron content. These two frequencies also serve to detect the rain events. The strength and shape of the returning signal also provides information on wind speed and the height of ocean waves."
from NOAA factsheet
Provided by NASA, "AMR-2 is a passive microwave radiometer that measures radiation from Earth's surface (brightness temperatures) at three frequencies (18.7, 23.8, and 34 GHz). These different measurements are combined to determine atmospheric water vapor and liquid water content. Once the water content is known, it is possible to determine the correction to be applied to the altimeter for radar signal path delays (the brightness temperatures are converted to path-delay information)."
"The 23.8 GHz channel is the primary water vapor sensor, the 34 GHz channel provides a correction for non-raining clouds, and the 18.7 GHz channel provides the correction for effects of wind-induced enhancements in the sea surface background emission."
Determination of orbit with an accuracy of 1-2cm
>> GPS Receiver supplied by NASA
>> DORIS (Doppler-based) supplied by CNES
>> LRA (Laser Tracking) supplied by NASA