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03 July 2014 | by Gabor Chodkowski-Gyurics

NASA CO2 measuring satellite operational

NASA CO2 measuring satellite operational
On July 1, NASA launched OCO-2 (Orbiting Carbon Observatory), its first CO2 measuring satellite. The $465 million satellite will carry out 100.000 CO2 measurements a day, for at least two years, covering entire Earth every 16 days.

While not the only satellite tasked with tracking CO2 emissions, it is the most precise one to date. OCO-2’s three spectrometers have a field of view of just three square kilometers, while for example Japan’s GOSAT, operating since 2009, has a field of view of 82 square kilometers.

OCO-2 will begin measuring CO2 emissions about 45 days after launch. Scientists expect to begin archiving calibrated mission data in about six months and plan to release their first initial estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in early 2015.

The satellite is NASA’s second attempt at launching a CO2-probing satellite into space. In 2009, the first OCO was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, but due to technical problems it failed to enter the orbit.


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