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Mission Specification

The Aquarius/SAC-D mission, launched on June 10, 2011,  is a joint venture between NASA and the Argentinean Space Agency (CONAE). The mission features the sea surface salinity sensor Aquarius and is the first mission with the primary goal of measuring sea surface salinity (SSS) from space. Data from Aquarius will play a large role in understanding both climate change and the global water cycle.
The Aquarius/SAC-D satellite
This instrument carries 3 radiometers, and 1 scatterometer.  They are operating at 1.4 GHz & 1.2 GHz respectively.  The data collected by the radiometer are being used together with sea surface temperature collected from another platform(s), to derive salinity data.  This is corrected for surface roughness using data from the Aquarius scatterometer.

The satellite will cross the equator at 6am and pm.  The Aquarius instrument will continuously point away from the sun to avoid glint.
PO.DAAC will be providing Level 2 SSS data as well as gridded level 3 degree SSS products generated by the Aquarius Ground Segment at Goddard.  Level 3 products will be produced with temporal resolutions of daily, 8 day, monthly, 3 months, and annual. The Aquarius instrument will provide global coverage every 7 days. The spatial resolution will be approximately 100km.

News and Announcements


June 9, 2014

Aquarius/SAC-D MissionThe PO.DAAC is pleased to announce the availability of the version 3.0 Aquarius/SAC-D data.  Data sets comprising this release include the Level 2 orbital data and Level 3 mapped salinity and wind speed products (1 degree spatial resolution for daily, 7 day, monthly, seasonal, and annual time intervals, and for ascending, descending and combined passes). A complementary set of similarly gridded L3 ancillary SST products is also provided.  A summary of improvements to this new version of the Aquarius data is available here.  Users are also urged to review the updated technical documents listed below for full details.  Data are processed through end of May 2014 and will continue to be augmented in monthly intervals, generally within a week of the end of the month.  This lag is due to the delays required to have the new data necessary to recalculate and confirm the sensor calibrations.  All users are strongly encouraged to work with v3.0 over any previous versions.
The Aquarius v3.0 data sets are described and discoverable via the PO.DAAC data portal.   Access to these data is via PO.DAAC’s public FTP site: .  The data are also accessible via a range of PO.DAAC tools and services: OPeNDAP, THREDDS (Salinity/Density, Ocean Winds), Aquarius Level 3 Browser, SOTO visualization, LAS, the HiTIDE L2 subsetter and associated Web Services.
The Aquarius Data Users Guide, Aquarius Data Validation Document, and other primary technical documentation , are available from the FTP site together with reader software.   General information regarding Aquarius/SAC-D mission is available from the mission website and also via PO.DAAC’s Aquarius  and Salinity webpages.

Should you have any questions, please contact us at:

NASA's Aquarius Sees Salty Shifts

February 27, 2013

This video provides a global tour of sea surface salinity using measurements taken by NASA's Aquarius instrument aboard the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft, from December 2011 through December 2012. Red represents areas of high salinity, while blue represents areas of low salinity. Aquarius is a focused effort to measure sea surface salinity and will provide the global view of salinity variability needed for climate studies. The mission is a collaboration between NASA and the Space Agency of Argentina (Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales).

View the press release:
This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:

See all "Official Aquarius/SAC-D" Announcements

See all PO.DAAC Announcements