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NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory to lift off Feb 24

Inside Building 1032 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, technicians install NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory spacecraft inside the payload fairing. NASA image

WASHINGTON (BNS): All is set for the launch of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory aboard a Taurus XL rocket on February 24. It will liftoff from Space Launch Complex 576-E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 1:51:30 am PST during a four-and-a-half-minute launch window. The spacecraft's final polar orbit will be 705 km (438 miles).

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is the space agency’s first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in the Earth's climate. The mission will provide the first complete picture of human and natural carbon dioxide sources as well as their ‘sinks,’ the places where carbon dioxide is pulled out of the atmosphere and stored.

According to NASA the Observatory will map the global geographic distribution of these sources and sinks and study their changes over time. The new observatory will dramatically improve global carbon dioxide data, collecting about eight million precise measurements every 16 days for at least two years.


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