July 1, 2014

Launch Of Carbon-Tracking Observatory Postponed

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Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2)

NASA/Bill Ingals

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 gets ready for launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California. The spacecraft is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, which will boost it to an orbit around Earth. Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Less than a minute before the launch of the United Launch Alliance Delta II carrying NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite, engineers scrubbed the mission for the day.

It turns out that the system that flows water onto the launch pad to dampen the acoustic energy during the liftoff isn’t quite up to scratch. Engineers will be troubleshooting the system today and, if all goes well, the launch is rescheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, July 2 when it looks like the weather is going to be favorable.

The first science observations of carbon dioxide levels on our planet are slated to begin about 45 days after launch.

Get more facts about the satellite.

Follow NASA’s blog for live launch coverage.

History: The original OCO was meant to launch in 2009 but was lost after it failed to separate from its rocket.

Location: OCO-2 will launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. NASA will position OCO-2 438 miles from Earth.

Project cost: $465 million (plus a bit more now there’s a relaunch)