Thursday, August 09, 2012

Happy 20th, TOPEX/Poseidon!

The above image is an artist's concept of TOPEX/Poseidon in Earth orbit. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Friday, August 10th, marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite atop an Ariane 42P rocket (August 10, 1992). TOPEX/Poseidon was a joint satellite mission between NASA and CNES, the French space agency, to map ocean surface topography. The first major oceanographic research vessel to sail into space, TOPEX/Poseidon helped revolutionize oceanography by proving the value of satellite ocean observations. The distinguished oceanographer Walter Munk described TOPEX/Poseidon as "the most successful ocean experiment of all times." A malfunction ended normal satellite operations January 2006.

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