The Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM) is a joint effort by four organizations to measure sea surface height by using a radar altimeter mounted on a low-earth orbiting satellite called Jason-2. The Jason-2 satellite mission launched successfully on June 20, 2008. The OSTM operations are planned for 5 years, comprising the Routine Operations (3 years) and the Extended Routine Operations Phases (2 years).
This satellite altimetry mission provides sea surface heights for determining ocean circulation, climate change and sea-level rise. The Jason-2 satellite is the follow-on to the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 satellites. The research satellites, TOPEX/POSEIDON and Jason-1, have been instrumental in meeting NOAA’s operational need for sea surface height measurements necessary for ocean modeling, forecasting El Nino/La Nina events, and hurricane intensity prediction.
Under the OSTM program NOAA will provide support from its satellite ground segment capabilities for management of the Jason-2 Satellite flight operations during its routine operational phases and to acquire, produce, and distribute geophysical data in a manner beneficial to all interested users.