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Mission Specification

seasatSeaSAT was the first Earth-orbiting satellite specifically designed and tasked for the remote sensing of Earth’s oceans. Through NASA sponsorship, JPL managed and operated SeaSAT, which was launched on June 28, 1978. SeaSAT carried a payload of five scientific instruments, including the first satellite-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Other instruments included a radar altimeter (ALT), SeaSAT-A satellite scatterometer (SASS), scanning multichannel microwave radiometer (SMMR), and the visible/infrared radiometer (VIRR). This array of scientific instruments enabled measurements of sea surface wind velocity, land and sea surface topography, ocean surface salinity, ocean surface gravity waves, land and sea ice, and sea surface temperature. SeaSAT was in continuous operation for 106 days and served as the precursor to many of NASA’s later missions including Nimbus-7, Topex/Poseidon, NSCAT, QuikSCAT, Jason1, OSTM/Jason2, and the SARs which flew aboard NASA’s many Space Shuttle missions.