Jason 2

Mrs. Voorhees is dead, and Camp Crystal Lake is shut down, but a camp next to the infamous place is stalked by an unknown assailant. Is it Mrs. Voorhee’s son Jason who didn’t drown in the lake some 30 years before?

No, this post is not about the Friday the 13th / Jason Part 2 horror movie (and April fools day was April, not May 1st). The real story is about the Jason-2 spacecraft and the Ocean Surface Topography Mission to launch on Sunday, June 15th (not Friday, June 13th):

PASADENA, Calif. – A NASA and French Space Agency (CNES) spacecraft designed to continue a long-term survey of Earth’s oceans has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., for final launch preparations. The new satellite will study ocean circulation and the effect oceans have on weather, climate and how Earth is responding to global climate change.

The Ocean Surface Topography Mission, called OSTM for short, will be flown on the Jason-2 spacecraft, which was transported on April 24 from its manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space, in Cannes, France, to Toulouse, France. It was loaded onto a Boeing 747 aircraft for its trans-Atlantic journey and after refueling in Boston, it arrived April 29 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Following final tests, it will be integrated onto a United Launch Alliance Delta II launch vehicle in preparation for a planned launch in June.

With the launch of this satellite, the science of precisely measuring and studying the height of the sea surface across Earth’s oceans will come of age. Continuous collection of these measurements began in 1992 with the NASA/CNES Topex/Poseidon mission and continued in 2001 with NASA/CNES’s Jason-1 mission, which is currently providing near-real-time data to a variety of users. The addition of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) as partners on OSTM/Jason-2 begins transitioning the responsibility for collecting these data to weather and climate forecasting agencies, which will use them for short-range and seasonal-to-long-range ocean forecasting.

The Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 is an international and interagency mission developed and operated as a four-party collaboration among NASA; NOAA; the French Space Agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales; and EUMETSAT.

And this may have one of the more practical applications among NASA projects:

The 15-plus-year climate data record that this mission will continue is the only one capable of addressing how ocean circulation is linked to climate change and how global sea level, one of the most important consequences and indicators of global climate change, is changing.

Satellite observations of Earth’s oceans have revolutionized our understanding of global climate by improving ocean models and hurricane forecasts, and identifying and tracking large ocean/atmosphere phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña. The data are used every day in applications as diverse as, for example, routing ships, improving the safety and efficiency of offshore industry operations, managing fisheries and tracking marine mammals.

After this spacecraft launches, Jason fans can start anticipating their next event – the launch of the next Jason flick. When does it launch? You guessed it – Friday, 13 February 2009.