OCO-2 Satellite Ships to Vandenberg Air Force Base

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NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 satellite arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where it is set to launch July 1 aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket, NASA said in an April 30 press release.

The satellite was assembled by prime contractor Orbital Sciences Corp. at the Dulles, Virginia-based company’s Gilbert, Arizona, satellite manufacturing facility.

OCO-2 is a replacement for a virtually identical satellite that was destroyed in 2009 when its launch vehicle, an Orbital Sciences Taurus XL, failed to shed its payload fairing. NASA subsequently withdrew Orbital’s contract to launch the successor satellite and gave the business to ULA in 2012 as part of a three-launch deal worth $412 million.

OCO-2, a NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Program mission, will spend its two-year primary mission in a 705-kilometer near-polar orbit, where it will measure carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere.