Wednesday, we completed the final stage of the Aquarius commissioning. We evaluated the overall performance after the start of radar transmission on one beam Tuesday night. We continued to find all indications of the health of the instrument were good. The radar data look very good as well. We then proceeded to switch the instrument back to receive-only mode for one orbit then began transmitting the radar on all three beams at 21:23 UT. Aquarius is now operating in normal science mission mode!
On Thursday we will be monitoring the data in mission mode. There will be about a one-orbit interruption for a radar diagnostic test, but otherwise we will be collecting data routinely on radiometer and scatterometer channels. Toward the end of next week we will make a number of modifications to the processing algorithms, and then re-process the complete record. Assuming that is satisfactory, we will probably start releasing the data as is, recognizing that there remains many months of calibration and validation work ahead of us all.