Choice of orbit

Jason’s high altitude (1 336 kilometers) reduces interactions with the Earth’s atmosphere and gravity field to a minimum, thus making orbit determination easier and more precise. The orbit inclination of 66 degrees north and south enables the satellite to cover most of the globe’s unfrozen oceans. The orbit’s repeat cycle is just under 10 days (9.9156 days to be precise, i.e., 10 days minus two hours.

Further, using the same orbit as Jason-2 will ensure better intercalibration and data continuity. The orbit is also designed to pass over two dedicated ground calibration sites: Cap Senetosa in Corsica and the Harvest oil rig platform in California, USA.

Orbit parameters

Table 7.22 Jason-3 Orbit Main characteristics
Inclination (sun-synchronous) 66.04°


Table 7.23 Jason-3 Orbit Auxiliary data
Reference altitude (equatorial) 1336 km
Repeat cycle 9.92 days
Number of passes per cycle 254
Ground track separation at Equator 315 km


Further information: