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Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Mission Category: ESSP
Launch Date: February 24, 2009
Launch Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA
Actual Completion Date: February 24, 2009
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) was designed to provide space-based global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) with the precision and resolution needed to identify and characterize the processes that regulate this important greenhouse gas. With its three high-resolution grating spectrometers, data collected by OCO could be combined with meteorological observations and ground-based CO2 measurement to help characterize CO2 sources and sinks on regional scales at monthly intervals for 2 years.
Shortly after launch on February 24, 2009, the fairing-a clamshell structure that encapsulates the satellite-on the Taurus XL launch vehicle carrying OCO failed to separate and OCO did not reach orbit.
Key Orbiting Carbon Observatory Facts
|Altitude:Distance from sea level.||705km|
|Local Node:Approximate time, at the equator when vehicle is directly overhead.||1:15 p.m.|
Three high-resolution grating spectrometers
Charles E. Miller
- Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) (Mission Brochures - 7.73 MB)
- Orbiting Carbon Observatory (Science Writers' Guide - 7.93 MB)
- Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (2014) (iBooks - 3.76 MB)
Relevant Science Focus Areas:
- Atmospheric Composition
- Carbon Cycle, Ecosystems, and Biogeochemistry
Relevant Science Questions:
- How does the Earth system respond to natural and human-induced changes?
- How is the global Earth system changing?
- How will the Earth system change in the future?
- Improve our understanding of the geographic distribution of CO2 sources and sinks (surface fluxes) and the processes controlling their variability on seasonal time scales. Validate a passive spectroscopic measurement approach and analysis concept that is well suited for future systematic CO2 monitoring missions.
- Validate a passive spectroscopic measurement approach and analysis concept that is well suited for future systematic CO2 monitoring missions.
- Air Quality
- Carbon Management
- Public Health