Remaking a Mission

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


In the 1994–1998 years EOS was downsized greatly, and the sea-level rise mission gained independence. Goldin brought Charles Kennel aboard to remake the Earth Sciences mission (then called Mission to Planet Earth). Kennel served from 1994 to 1996. His deputy, Bill Townsend, had been Wilson’s deputy and was an advocate for a follow-on to TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason. As Jason, known as Jason-1, was carved from a deconstructed EOS so also was another satellite, ICESAT (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite), freed to help get at the “whys” of sea-level rise. Kennel responded to increased climate change politics and visibility by a communication strategy that stressed the “facts” but refrained from alarms and advocacy of policy action. When Kennel left, Townsend took over leadership of Mission to Planet Earth from 1996 to 1998 on an acting basis. He added a pair of sea-level-related satellites called GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) that complemented ICESAT by showing how polar melting transferred to ocean mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPalgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
VolumePart F1542
ISSN (Print)2730-972X
ISSN (Electronic)2730-9738


  • Charles Kennel
  • Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)
  • Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESAT)
  • Jason-1
  • Mission to Planet Earth
  • William (Bill) Townsend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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