Following massive and irreparable system failures, NASA has decommissioned the long running ocean mapping satellite, Jason 1.
For more than a decade, Jason -1 tracked the rising sea levels across a vast region of ocean, and its data aided forecasters make better weather and climate predications.
"After circling the globe more than 53,500 times, Jason -1 useful life has come to an end," announced NASA in a statement released on Wednesday.
Jason -1, a US and French satellite, was launched on orbit in 2001 and had been designed to undergo a life span of merely three to five years. But it ended up lasting 11 and half years.
According to NASA, Jason -1 scanned the ocean surface in 10-day intervals, mapping sea level, wind speed and wave height for more than 95 percent of the planet's ice-free ocean area. It was one of three oceanographic satellites that contributed to a 20-year record of sea-level changes.
Jason -1 data has revealed regional and short-term changes in sea level, but the key finding is that the global ocean level has been rising at a rate of over 3mm/year due to a combination of melting glaciers and expansion driven by the increased heat absorbed by the oceans.
"Jason-1 has been a resounding scientific, technical and international success," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "The Jason satellite series provides the most accurate measure of this impact, which is felt all over the globe."
Last year, the Jason-2 satellite was calibrated which made the Jason -1 superfluous. The original ocean surveyor was then moved into a final "graveyard" orbit where, its extra fuel depleted, it was assigned to observe Earth's gravity field over the ocean, NASA said.
"Even from its 'graveyard' orbit, Jason-1 continued to make unprecedented new observations of the Earth's gravity field, with precise measurements right till the end," said Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales in Paris.
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