Workhorse Delta 2 returns to launch NASA observatory

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Workhorse Delta 2 returns to launch NASA observatory Empty Workhorse Delta 2 returns to launch NASA observatory

Post  DHF on Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:43 am

Workhorse Delta 2 returns to launch NASA observatory


VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE -- Streaking back into action after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, a Delta 2 rocket launched NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory No. 2 this morning to watch the Earth breathe from space.

It was the 150th successful Delta 2 launch in a quarter-century of flight and the 97th in a row for the venerable rocket. OCO 2 became the 228th primary payload put into space by a Delta 2.

"I do dearly love this rocket," said NASA launch director Tim Dunn. "We couldn't be happier to be back in the Delta 2 business."

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory before it and OCO 2 now were designed to study natural and man-made carbon dioxide emission and absorption to help scientists assess how the greenhouse gas is contributing to global warming.

"The most important aspect about the OCO 2 mission is that we're going to be able to produce data and make it available to the scientists (and) the general public so that we can have an opportunity to better understand the processes that are driving the global climate change and be better stewards of Mother Earth," said Ralph Basilio, OCO 2 project manager with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

"We know what we emit when we burn fossil fuels, we know how much shows up in the atmosphere and about half of it doesn't stay in the atmosphere each year -- it goes into the land and the oceans. We are trying to figure out where that is and how those processes are happening," said Annmarie Eldering, OCO 2 deputy project scientist at JPL.

"We'll see, every two weeks or so, how much carbon dioxide there is left in the atmosphere. We call this watching the planet breathe," said PJ Guske, mission operations systems manager of OCO 2.

"These are things we clearly need to understand if we want to manage the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere," David Crisp, OCO 2 science team leader.

"As we launch OCO 2, the data we provide will help our decision-makers at the local and federal levels to be better equipped to understand carbon dioxide's role in climate change, because OCO 2 will be measuring this greenhouse (gas) globally and understanding and providing new insight into where and how the carbon dioxide is moving into and out of the atmosphere," Edwards said.


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