News Column

NASA Sends OCO-2 into Space

July 8, 2014

NASA launched its first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide at 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT) Wednesday, July 2.

NASA noted that the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) raced skyward from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Approximately 56 minutes after the launch, the observatory separated from the rocket's second stage into an initial 429-mile (690-kilometer) orbit. The spacecraft then performed a series of activation procedures, established communications with ground controllers and unfurled its twin sets of solar arrays.

OCO-2 soon will begin a minimum two-year mission to locate Earth's sources of and storage places for atmospheric carbon dioxide.

"Climate change is the challenge of our generation," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "With OCO-2 and our existing fleet of satellites, NASA is uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of documenting and understanding these changes, predicting the ramifications, and sharing information about these changes for the benefit of society."

"This challenging mission is both timely and important," said Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division of NASA'sScience Mission Directorate in Washington. "OCO-2 will produce exquisitely precise measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations near Earth's surface, laying the foundation for informed policy decisions on how to adapt to and reduce future climate change."

NASA said that during the next 10 days, the spacecraft will go through a checkout process and then begin three weeks of maneuvers that will place it in its final 438-mile (705-kilometer), near- polar operational orbit at the head of the international Afternoon Constellation, or "A-Train," of Earth-observing satellites.

OCO-2 science operations will begin about 45 days after launch. Scientists expect to begin archiving calibrated mission data in about six months and plan to release their first initial estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in early 2015.

OCO-2 is a NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Program mission managed by JPL for NASA'sScience Mission Directorate in Washington.

More information and complete details:

nasa.gov/oco2

nasa.gov/earthrightnow

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))


For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel



Source: Travel & Leisure Close - Up


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters