The exceptional results obtained from the TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) mission (see references and recommended reading list at end of this piece) have convinced scientists to continue the research activities needed to improve our understanding of ocean circulation and its interaction with climate. High-accuracy radar altimeter missions alone can provide continuous global observations of ocean circulation.
Soon after the launch of T/P in August 1992 and following a comprehensive analysis of the system's performance, the T/P missions Science Working Team recommended that studies be engaged as a follow-on. Early in 1993, the Centre Nationale d Etudes Spatiales France (CNES) and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed to jointly build and operate this follow-on satellite, Jason-1, to be launched early in 2001. Fittingly, the new satellite is named after the leader of the Argonauts famous quest to recover the Golden Fleece.