NASA Launches Carbon-Tracking Satellite
Delta II rocket carrying the OCO-2 satellite roared off the pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. According to JPL, the OCO separated from the Delta II's second stage 56 minutes later and settled into an initial 690-kilometer-high orbit. If all goes well it will maneuver into a final 705-km orbit over the next month, putting it at the head of an international multi-satellite constellation of Earth-observing satellites known as the A-Train.
OCO-2's contribution will be better intelligence on natural sources and sinks for CO2. Satellite will collect more than 100,000 measurements of CO2 concentrations per day beginning in early 2015. It will also monitor plant growth and health by tracking fluorescence given off by plants as they photosynthesize and take up carbon dioxide.
Photo and Video: NASA