Alcatel Space would like to make several comments on the article, “Data Continuity May be Affected By Delays in Jason-2 Development” [May 30, page 1]. We believe the article contains erroneous assertions by Daniel Vidal-Madjar, head of Earth observation at the French space agency, CNES, who is quoted as saying “Alcatel was being paid by us but was not doing any work.”
Aclatel Space makes two major contributions to the Jason-2 program: the altimeter instrument and the satellite platform.
Activities concerning the altimeter were not impacted by the uncertainty surrounding the delivery of a separate instrument, the Wide Swath Ocean Altimeter (WSOA). Work proceeded normally to make sure the instrument was ready on time, because after all it is the key to the mission.
Activities concerning the satellite were reduced in terms of both volume and budget, while maintaining the strict minimum needed to limit the impact of any delays in the launch date. The period of uncertainty about the WSOA was used to study alternate configurations in close collaboration with CNES. The space allotted to the now-cancel ed WSOA will be used for new instruments that will enable us to better characterize the orbital environment, and therefore give Jason-2 even higher performance than Jason-1.
I hope these points will give Space News readers a more objective view of the manufacturer’s role in this project.
Laurent Zimmermann, Alcatel Space Corporate Communications Paris