A spacecraft Orbital Sciences built for NASA is set to blast off Tuesday morning on a two-year mission to measure carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmoshphere.
Orbital Sciences will launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite aboard a Delta II rocket Tuesday at 2:56 a.m. Pacific Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the company said Monday.
“We are looking forward to a successful launch tomorrow and are eager to begin in-orbit testing and, later, operating the satellite for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,” said Mike Miller, Orbital senior vice president for science and environmental satellite programs.
â€œOCO-2 will ultimately reveal how increasing CO2 concentrations are driving climate change around the globe,” Miller added.
Orbital’s mission operations center in Dulles, Virginia will be responsible for maneuvering the 990-pound satellite.
NASA intends for OCO-2 to join the A-Train international constellation of Earth observation satellites, which circle the planet once every 98 minutes while in a sun-synchronous orbit and make equator crossings in the early afternoon, according to Orbital.