This is an artist's concept of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. Image credit: NASA/JPL
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PASADENA, Calif. – NASA has selected Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., to launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission. The spacecraft will fly in February 2013 aboard a Taurus XL 3110 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The total cost of the OCO-2 launch services is approximately $70 million. The estimated cost includes the task ordered launch service for a Taurus XL 3110 rocket, plus additional services under other contracts for payload processing, OCO-2 mission-unique support, launch vehicle integration, and tracking, data and telemetry support.
OCO-2 is NASA's first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth's climate. OCO-2 will provide the first complete picture of human and natural carbon dioxide sources and "sinks," the places where the gas is pulled out of the atmosphere and stored. It will map the global geographic distribution of these sources and sinks and study their changes over time. The OCO-2 spacecraft will replace OCO-1, lost during a launch vehicle failure in 2009.
The OCO-2 project is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch vehicle program management of the Taurus XL 3110 rocket.
JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.