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Ocean Satellite Dies After 11½-Year Mission

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 3:24pm
The Associated Press

A U.S.-French science satellite that tracked rising sea levels for more than a decade and helped forecasters make better weather predictions worldwide has gone dark.

NASA announced Wednesday that it has decommissioned Jason-1 after its last remaining transmitter failed. It will run out of battery power within 90 days but remain in a graveyard orbit for about 1,000 years before falling back to Earth.

The satellite was launched in 2001. It scanned a vast area of the ocean's surface, making precise measurements of wave height and temperature-related changes.

Lee-Lueng Fu, a Jason-1 project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, says the satellite was instrumental in keeping tabs on El Nino events and other weather-changing conditions.

A replacement, Jason-2, was launched in 2008 and is still operating.

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