Final OCO-2 Launch Preps in Progress

The payload fairing closes in around OCO-2It’s been a busy week for the teams preparing the OCO-2 spacecraft and United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket for liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The nearly 1,000-pound observatory has been sealed inside the protective payload fairing atop the Delta II since Saturday, June 21. Fuel was loaded aboard the rocket’s second stage yesterday, wrapping up two days of hypergolic propellant loading activities. OCO-2’s onboard batteries will be charged today, followed by a powered health check tomorrow. NASA managers and launch officials will gather for the the Launch Readiness Review at 1 p.m. PDT on Sunday.

Launch is scheduled for July 1 at 2:56 a.m. PDT, 5:56 a.m. EDT. Our live countdown coverage begins right here at 12:45 a.m. PDT, 3:45 a.m. EDT.

OCO-2 to Study Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Artist's concept of OCO-2 in orbitNASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 is an Earth satellite mission to study carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and provide scientists with a better idea of the chemical compound’s impacts on climate change. The mission is NASA’s first dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide from space. OCO-2 will launch on a Delta II 7320 rocket from Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

To learn more, visit NASA’s OCO-2 mission website.