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Know Your Earth 3.0: Jason-1
Jason banner with Sophia Malloy

About Sophia Malloy

Sophia Malloy is the team lead for the mission planning and sequence team in the Earth Science Missions Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. Her team supports the Topex/Poseidon follow-on missions, Jason-1 and Jason-2, launched in 2001 and 2008, respectively. Both missions continue to operate past their three to five-year expected lifetimes, providing valuable data for scientists around the world. Malloy said the missions are a testament to the expertise of the engineers, operators, and mission planners.

Born and raised in Maryland, Malloy started her career at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. She relocated to Southern California in 1989, working as a resource allocations planner at JPL. She joined the Topex/Poseidon project as a member of the mission planning and sequence team prior to the satellite's launch, and supported the mission throughout its 13 years of mapping sea surface height from space.

Malloy attended the University of Phoenix, where she obtained her bachelor's degree in business management, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in information systems management. In 1999, she retired from the United States Air Force Reserves after 21 years of service.

Malloy and her team are responsible for generating ground station antenna schedules so operators on the ground can communicate with the satellites. This is a critical step, as timing has to be just right for the antenna to see the satellite when it passes over the antenna site. In addition, built into the sequence products are commands to the satellite's onboard instruments, which enable them to perform processes such as calibration, power cycling, and data collection and transmission to the ground.

There is no room for error; planning ahead is essential. Even though various aspects of the mission planning and sequence development processes have been automated over time, the team still has to perform hands-on actions to ensure that all products are processed according to specific guidelines.

About Jason-1

map of sea surface temperature generated using data from Jason-1
A map of sea surface temperature generated using data from Jason-1.
Credit: NASA
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Jason-1 was the first follow-on to the highly successful Topex/Poseidon (T/P) mission. This second joint mission between NASA and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) French Space Agency flies on a French spacecraft, which was launched on December 7, 2001 aboard an American Delta II rocket from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. Like T/P, the Jason-1 payload included both American and French instruments. When added to the T/P data record, the altimeter from Jason-1 has provided a 20-year-plus record of global sea surface height measurements. Sea surface height measurements provide information about ocean currents and the transfer of heat between the ocean and atmosphere. The data are providing critical information about how the ocean responds to a warming climate. Jason-1 altimeter data are part of a suite of data provided by other JPL-managed ocean missions.

Additional Links

› Know Your Earth 3.0
› Jason-1 mission
› NASA's climate website
› NASA's Jason-1 page
› NASA Science: Jason-1