NASA delays OCO-2 satellite launch; Colorado State Univ. team to help analyze carbon dioxide data

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE - A team from Colorado State University will have to wait another 24 hours to see their project launched into space.

The launch of a rocket carrying NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite was scrubbed Tuesday due to an issue with the water suppression system on the launch pad used to dampen the acoustic energy during launch.

The launch has been rescheduled for Wednesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The launch time is 3:56 a.m. MDT. The launch has just a 30-second window.

The forecast shows a 100 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch, according to United Launch Alliance.

The CSU scientists have spent years working on the NASA satellite to study carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere and in natural “sinks” such as plants and oceans.

The first Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) launched in 2009, but didn't reach its orbit and crashed into the Indian Ocean.

When the OCO-2 satellite gets into orbit, the CSU team will work with NASA to analyze the information OCO-2 collects.

“We’ve been involved with OCO-2 from the original concept design process, through the implementation of the algorithms used to actually produce the measurements," said Professor Chris O’Dell, who is leading the Colorado State team.

The OCO-2 spacecraft will circle Earth from pole-to-pole in approximately 98 minutes. The satellite is expected to orbit the Earth for at least two years and will collect data at a higher resolution and with greater accuracy than has been previously possible.

CSU officials said OCO-2 is equipped with an advanced sensor that can quantify the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide down to about 1 part per million. It also will measure the faint “glow” emitted by plants during photosynthesis, providing further information about the carbon cycle process.

"Determining where carbon dioxide is emitted and where it is taken up by Earth’s natural ecosystem is a key missing piece of the climate story," CSU officials said in a news release.

Currently, only the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite, launched by the Japanese space agency in 2009, is dedicated to collecting carbon dioxide data.

Print this article Back to Top