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Spacecraft Information

TOPEX/Poseidon

diagram of TOPEX components

Classification: Orbiter spacecraft.

Mission: Global view of Earth's oceans.

Features: Topex/Poseidon is a joint project between NASA and Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) launched in mid 1992 aboard an Ariane 4. The spacecraft occupies a 1336-km-high Earth orbit inclined 66 degrees. Revealing minute differences in the oceans' heights, Topex/Poseidon's data has lead to improved understanding of oceanic circulation and forecasting of global environment. One of its best-known results has been the improved understanding of Earth's El Niño climate phenomenon.

Stabilization: Three-axis stabilized via reaction wheels and thrusters.

See also: the Topex/Poseidon Project website, and the Jason website.