Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2

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Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2
Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 artist rendering (PIA18374).jpg
Artist depiction of OCO-2
Mission type Environmental
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2014-035A
SATCAT № 40059
Mission duration 2 years planned
Spacecraft properties
Bus LEOStar-2
Manufacturer Orbital
Launch mass 454 kg (1,001 lb)
Dry mass 409 kg (902 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 2 July 2014, 09:56 (2014-07-02UTC09:56Z) UTC
Rocket Delta II 7320-10C
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-2W
Contractor United Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Perigee 708 kilometres (440 mi)[1]
Apogee 710 kilometres (440 mi)[1]
Inclination 98.22 degrees[1]
Period 98.83 minutes[1]
Epoch January 24, 2015, 22:03:16 UTC[1]
Main spectrometer
Type Near-infrared spectrometer
Wavelengths 2.06 microns
1.61 microns
0.765 microns[2]
Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Logo.jpg

Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) is an American environmental science satellite which launched on 2 July 2014. A NASA mission, it is a replacement for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory which was lost in a launch failure in 2009.

Mission description[edit]

The OCO-2 satellite was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, based around the LEOStar-2 bus.[3] The spacecraft will be used to study carbon dioxide concentrations and distributions in the atmosphere.[4]

OCO-2 was ordered after the original OCO spacecraft failed to achieve orbit. During the first satellite's launch atop a Taurus-XL in February 2009, the payload fairing failed to separate from around the spacecraft and the rocket did not have sufficient power to enter orbit with its additional mass. Although a Taurus launch was initially contracted for the reflight, the launch contract was cancelled after the same malfunction occurred on the launch of the Glory satellite two years later.[5]

Launch of OCO-2 on a Delta II rocket.

United Launch Alliance launched OCO-2 using a Delta II rocket at the beginning of a 30-second launch window at 09:56:23 UTC (2:56:23 PDT) on 2 July 2014. Flying in the 7320-10C configuration, the rocket launched from Space Launch Complex 2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base.[6] The initial launch attempt on 1 July at 09:56:44 UTC was scrubbed at 46 seconds on the countdown clock due to a faulty valve on the water suppression system, used to flow water on the launch pad to dampen the acoustic energy during launch.[7]

OCO-2 joined the A-train satellite constellation, becoming the sixth satellite in the group. Members of the A-train fly very close together in sun-synchronous orbit, to make nearly simultaneous measurements of Earth. A particularly short launch window of 30 seconds was necessary to achieve a proper position in the train.[8] As of January 24, 2015 it was in an orbit with a perigee of 708 kilometres (440 mi), an apogee of 710 kilometres (440 mi) and 98.22 degrees inclination.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Peat, Chris (January 24, 2015). "OCO 2 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Launch". NASA. July 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "OCO 1, 2 (ESSP 5)". Gunter's Space Page.  It has a mass of 454 kilograms (1,001 lb) and a design life of two years.
  4. ^ "Carbon dioxide-sniffing spacecraft set to launch". Spaceflight Now. 28 June 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Graham, William (30 June 2014). "ULA Delta II launch with OCO-2 rescheduled for Wednesday". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Delta II OCO-2 Mission". United Launch Alliance. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Launch of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Rescheduled for July 2". NASA. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Rosalie Murphy (27 June 2014). "Five Things About OCO-2". NASA. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 at Wikimedia Commons