NASA Launching Replacement for Lost Carbon Observer Spacecraft
A spacecraft to monitor carbon dioxide worldwide heads for a July launch.
NASA's newest spacecraft, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, aims to map the amount of carbon dioxide—the big gorilla of greenhouse gases—in the skies of its home planet.
Scheduled for a July 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the $475 million mission replaces the first Orbiting Carbon Observatory, lost during launch in 2009 in a mishap that planted it in the ocean off Antarctica.
"We're excited about this opportunity to finally complete some unfinished business," said the spacecraft team's Ralph Basilio of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "It was heartbreaking to lose the first mission."
The new spacecraft, OCO-2, an upgraded version of the lost one, will essentially re-map atmospheric carbon dioxide once every 16 days with