Author Topic: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.  (Read 99564 times)

Offline jacqmans

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #20 on: 01/23/2009 10:01 PM »
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51 a.m. PST (7 min., 30 sec. launch window)

In processing activities on the Taurus launch vehicle in Building 1555
on north Vandenberg, thermal blanket and avionics subsystem
installation is under way. Stage 1 is planned to be mated to Stage 2
between Jan. 24 and Jan. 26. Flight Simulation No. 2 is currently
planned for Jan. 27. Flight Simulation No. 3 is currently planned for
Feb. 11.

Stage 0, the stage providing the initial liftoff thrust, will be
hoisted into position at the launch pad on Jan. 30. The spacecraft
will be encapsulated into the payload fairing on Feb. 7. The
spacecraft is planned to be integrated with the Taurus third stage on
Feb. 3. Finally, the payload/upper launch vehicle integrated stack is
planned to be hoisted atop Stage 0 on Feb. 16.

Offline ineedalife999

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #21 on: 01/24/2009 04:39 PM »
Seriously, just check out the mission logo:

http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/images/oco_logo_partners_br.jpg
“We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket.” -George Carlin

Offline antonioe

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #22 on: 01/24/2009 10:46 PM »
Most Earth Sciences undergraduate curricula these days require Acronomy 101 as a mandatory subject (Ac-ron-om-y n: The art or practice of creating, popularizing and convincing people to use witty or ingenious acronyms and initialisms)
« Last Edit: 01/24/2009 10:47 PM by antonioe »
ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #23 on: 01/29/2009 03:05 PM »
graphics from the OCO NASAtv program
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #24 on: 01/29/2009 03:07 PM »
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline jacqmans

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #25 on: 01/29/2009 03:16 PM »
RELEASE: 09-021

NASA MISSION TO HELP UNRAVEL KEY CARBON, CLIMATE MYSTERIES

WASHINGTON -- NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to studying
atmospheric carbon dioxide is in final preparations for a Feb. 23
launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Carbon dioxide
is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in
Earth's climate.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will provide the first complete
picture of human and natural carbon dioxide sources as well as their
"sinks," the places where carbon dioxide 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
measurements will be combined with data from ground stations,
aircraft and other satellites to help answer questions about the
processes that regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide and its role in
Earth's climate and carbon cycle.

Mission data will help scientists reduce uncertainties in predicting
future carbon dioxide increases and make more accurate climate change
predictions. Policymakers and business leaders can use the data to
make more informed decisions that improve the quality of life on
Earth.

"It's critical that we understand the processes controlling carbon
dioxide in our atmosphere today so we can predict how fast it will
build up in the future and how quickly we'll have to adapt to climate
change caused by carbon dioxide buildup," said David Crisp, principal
investigator for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"OCO's carbon dioxide measurements will be pivotal in advancing our
knowledge of virtually all Earth system land, atmosphere, and ocean
processes," said Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science
Division in Washington. "They will play crucial roles in refining our
knowledge of climate forcings and Earth's response processes."

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is determined by
the balance between its sources and the sinks where it is absorbed on
land and in the ocean. Human activities, particularly fossil fuel
burning and deforestation, have upset Earth's carbon cycle balance.
Since the Industrial Revolution began in 1750, atmospheric carbon
dioxide has increased from about 280 parts per million to about 385
parts per million. Climate models indicate increased greenhouse gases
have been the primary driver of Earth's increasing surface
temperature.

Of all the carbon humans have added to Earth's atmosphere since the
start of the Industrial Revolution, only about 40 percent has
remained in Earth's atmosphere. About half of the remaining 60
percent can be accounted for in Earth's ocean. The rest must have
been absorbed somewhere on land, but scientists cannot yet determine
specifically where this is taking place or what controls the
efficiency of these land sinks. Scientists refer to this as the
"missing" carbon sink.

The new observatory will dramatically improve global carbon dioxide
measurements, collecting about 8 million measurements every 16 days
for at least two years with the precision, resolution and coverage
needed to characterize carbon dioxide's global distribution.
Scientists need these precise measurements because carbon dioxide
varies by just 10 parts per million throughout the year on regional
to continental scales.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory's three high-resolution spectrometers
spread reflected sunlight into its various colors like a prism. Each
spectrometer focuses on a different, narrow color range, detecting
light with the specific colors absorbed by carbon dioxide and
molecular oxygen. The less carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere,
the more light the spectrometers detect. By analyzing the amount of
light, scientists can determine relative concentrations of these
chemicals. The data will then be input into computer models of the
global atmosphere to quantify carbon dioxide sources and sinks.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will be launched on a Taurus XL rocket
into a 438-mile near-polar orbit. It will lead five other NASA
satellites that cross the equator each day shortly after noon, making
a wide range of nearly simultaneous Earth observations.

JPL manages the Orbiting Carbon Observatory for NASA's Science Mission
Directorate in Washington. Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles,
Va., built the spacecraft and the Taurus XL rocket and provides
mission operations under JPL leadership. NASA's Launch Services
Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., leads launch and
countdown management.

For more information about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oco

Offline John44

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #26 on: 01/30/2009 04:46 PM »

Offline Ford Mustang

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #27 on: 01/30/2009 06:18 PM »
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51 a.m. PST (7 min., 30 sec. launch window)

OCO spacecraft battery conditioning begins next week in preparation
for launch. Work is also under way to prepare the spacecraft to be
mated to the payload attach fitting. The spacecraft will be
encapsulated into the payload fairing beginning on Feb. 7.

In launch preparations for the Taurus launch vehicle, Stage 0, the
stage providing the initial liftoff thrust, was hoisted into position
at the launch pad Thursday.

Meanwhile, Stage 1 and Stage 2 have been integrated. The first phase
of Flight Simulation No. 2 has been completed. The second phase will
be completed on Feb. 5. Flight Simulation No. 3 is currently planned
for Feb. 11.

The encapsulated OCO spacecraft is planned to be integrated with the
Taurus third stage on Feb. 13. Finally, the payload/upper launch
vehicle integrated stack is planned to be hoisted atop Stage 0 on
Feb. 16.

Offline faustod

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #28 on: 01/31/2009 06:55 AM »
The OCO logo:
« Last Edit: 01/31/2009 06:56 AM by faustod »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #29 on: 02/02/2009 05:55 PM »
OCO video:

"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline jacqmans

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #30 on: 02/06/2009 12:52 PM »
February 5, 2009


NASA Carbon Mission to Improve Future Climate Change Predictions

Recent years have seen an increase in record-setting events related to climate change. For example, 2005 was the warmest year globally in more than a century, and in 2007, Arctic sea ice retreated more than in any other time in recorded history. A new NASA mission set to launch later this month will help scientists better understand the most important human-produced greenhouse gas contributing to climate change: carbon dioxide. Called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, the satellite may help us better predict how our climate may change in the future.

Scientists rely on models to forecast future impacts of carbon dioxide on Earth's climate. When the carbon dioxide concentrations used in, or predicted by, these models are not accurate, the resulting climate projections can have a large degree of uncertainty. To accurately predict atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in the future, we need to understand natural and human sources of carbon dioxide, as well as the natural "sinks" that remove this gas from our atmosphere. 

The rapid buildup of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is a relatively well understood and predictable source. Other impacts, however, such as forestry and agricultural practices, which can act as either sources or sinks, are far harder to predict with confidence. More importantly, measurements from a global network of greenhouse gas monitoring stations indicate that more than half of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities is currently being absorbed by the ocean and by plants on land. But the current ground-based carbon dioxide monitoring network does not have the coverage or resolution needed to identify sufficiently the natural sinks responsible for absorbing this carbon dioxide. In addition, the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by natural sinks varies dramatically from year to year, for reasons that are largely unknown. Because the nature, location and processes controlling these natural sinks are not well understood, it is impossible to accurately predict how much carbon dioxide they might absorb in the future as the climate changes. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory aims to help resolve these and other open carbon-cycle questions. 

"The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will provide the initial steps in the journey of measuring carbon dioxide from space, and the discoveries will be profound-we'll gather basic information about the distribution of carbon that we wouldn't have been able to do any other way," says Graeme Stephens of Colorado State University, Fort Collins, a co-investigator on the Orbiting Carbon Observatory science team.

Researchers have shown that warming, particularly from greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, is driving Earth's climate toward "tipping points." Those are the points at which temperatures could set in motion processes that are very difficult to reverse. One potential example is the runaway disintegration of Arctic sea ice and of the West Antarctic ice sheet. In this scenario, warmer temperatures melt more ice and create more open water, which absorbs more heat. This, in turn, melts more ice, in a process that feeds upon itself. 

Research by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, and colleagues suggests that to avoid dangerous tipping points, Earth's atmosphere should be limited to a carbon dioxide concentration of 450 parts per million at the most, and potentially much lower. Today, the level of carbon dioxide is about 385 parts per million, and over the last few decades that number has been rising by about two parts per million per year. But arriving at models that accurately predict how carbon dioxide levels will change in the future depends, in part, on whether researchers can collect enough data to untangle the mysteries of the carbon cycle. 

 "As human-caused emissions change, what will happen to the carbon budget [the contribution of carbon dioxide's various sources]?" Stephens asked. "There's a gross lack of understanding as to where the re-absorbed carbon is going because it's currently impossible to make global observations to see how carbon dioxide varies on both global and regional scales." 

Currently, a sparse network of stations across the globe collects precise measurements of carbon dioxide near Earth's surface, but the number of stations is limited and most are located far away from power plants, automobiles and other sources of carbon dioxide. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will complement the ground-based network by collecting thousands of times as many measurements over the sunlit side of Earth. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite now routinely provides global maps of carbon dioxide at altitudes between 5 and 13 kilometers (3 and 8 miles) high, where it is most efficient as a greenhouse gas. Orbiting Carbon Observatory measurements will complement those from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder because they are much more sensitive to the concentration of carbon dioxide near Earth's surface, where most of it is emitted by sources or absorbed by sinks. 

Measurements from ground stations and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder have already shown that the level of carbon dioxide is more varied throughout the atmosphere than was previously believed. The levels fluctuate with weather and temperature and are influenced by land plants and the ocean. It's the goal of carbon cycle models to explain and ultimately predict the response of this complex system. 

"It's like a domino effect," Stephens said. "The climate system is so interconnected, and the carbon dioxide system is an integral part of that system."

A new generation of climate modelers already considers the interactions of carbon between land, ocean and atmosphere. These models predict that the growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide and of global warming will accelerate as Earth's land and ocean show a decreased capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. But with the current scant observations of the carbon system, the magnitude and timing of such model predictions are highly uncertain. The next generation of carbon-climate models will better represent these systems, thanks to more abundant global carbon dioxide data from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory and other future satellite missions. And while the data from these new satellites may not be as precise as data from ground stations, the models will nonetheless improve due to the tremendous volume of data from across the globe and throughout the atmosphere. 

Researchers expect the volume of carbon dioxide data to increase dramatically. "This is tremendous," says Inez Fung of the University of California, Berkeley, a co-investigator on the Orbiting Carbon Observatory science team. "There is much horizontal and vertical variation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to sources and sinks and turbulent mixing processes that vary between day and night, from place to place, and from season to season. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will give scientists a much more complete global picture of how the carbon cycle works." 

The observatory will measure the percentage of carbon dioxide present within columns of the atmosphere that span less than 4.1 square kilometers (1.6 square miles) on the surface and extend all the way up to the satellite 705 kilometers (438 miles) above. "This is a major advance over the traditional surface observations, which are sparse and which sample only at fixed heights and mostly near the ground," Fung said.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory information will allow researchers to "see" for the first time carbon dioxide sources and sinks. The information will allow researchers to assess, or "rank," the performance of carbon-climate models and will help to flag areas that need additional study. Researchers also expect the observatory to turn up surprises where little or no carbon dioxide data have been taken, such as over Africa, Eurasia and the open ocean. 

"I am extremely excited-I have been working on the carbon cycle for over 25 years and have been hampered by the data scarcity," Fung said. "Christmas is coming." 

For more information on the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, see: http://www.nasa.gov/oco .

This image shows the past half-century of carbon dioxide trends, beginning in 1950 when global industrialization took off. A more complete understanding of Earth's carbon cycle gained from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory will help researchers arrive at models that better predict future trends. Credit: NASA


-end-



Offline Ford Mustang

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #31 on: 02/06/2009 09:42 PM »
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51 a.m. PST (7 min., 30 sec. launch window)

The OCO spacecraft is being mated to the payload attach fitting
Friday. Encapsulating the spacecraft into the fairing halves begins
this weekend with the first half on Feb. 7 and the second half on
Feb. 9. OCO will then go to the launch pad on Feb. 10.

The upper launch vehicle stack, consisting of Taurus stages 1, 2 and
3, was transported to the launch pad on Feb. 3, joining Stage 0.
Technicians plan to integrate the encapsulated OCO spacecraft with
the Taurus third stage on Feb. 13. Finally, the payload/upper launch
vehicle integrated stack is set to be hoisted atop Stage 0 on Feb.
16.

Taurus Flight Simulation No. 3 currently is planned for Feb. 11.

Offline eeergo

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #32 on: 02/09/2009 09:19 PM »
There's a videochat at NASA's site this evening for anyone interested (and not living in a totally unfortunate time zone for the event!):

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/oco/news/ocob-20090205.html

Also, some images (which are a bit hilarious, admit it) of the fueling process with SCAPE suits... Arianespace's are a bit more ergonimic.
« Last Edit: 02/09/2009 09:20 PM by eeergo »
-DaviD-

Offline Antares

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #33 on: 02/14/2009 01:41 AM »
This article from the satellite collision thread talks about threats to the A-train orbit, where OCO is supposed to go.  Any talk of delays?

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-satellite1309feb13,0,1752465.story
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline antonioe

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #34 on: 02/14/2009 01:53 AM »
FWIW as of 5 pm today (Friday the 13th!) JR and Ron Grabe are scheduled to be at VAFB on the 23rd for the launch.  I was thinking about going myself, but I've had so much travel recently that I think I'll punt (I would be a tourist there, anyway - not my rocket, not my satellite).
ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline Danderman

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #35 on: 02/14/2009 03:43 PM »
How do the instruments on this spacecraft compare with those on the recently launched Japanese GOSAT?

Offline ineedalife999

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #36 on: 02/14/2009 08:30 PM »
As for the debris problem:

The satellite is already built, as is the Taurus.  The rocket is already being stacked, and the satellite should be buttoned up by now inside the fairing.  Since the A-Train probably can't be moved significantly out of the way, and there are already 5 birds up there with 2 more almost ready to go, I'd guess that NASA would just go ahead and launch OCO (and later this year Glory) and hope for the best.

Just my take on it though.
« Last Edit: 02/14/2009 08:31 PM by ineedalife999 »
“We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket.” -George Carlin

Offline faustod

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #37 on: 02/15/2009 06:15 PM »
Images from NASA KSC Multimedia, about the OCO satellite:
« Last Edit: 02/15/2009 06:16 PM by faustod »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #38 on: 02/16/2009 09:25 PM »
View of Space Launch Complex 576-E on VAFB Webcams:

http://countdown.ksc.nasa.gov/elv/index-vafb.html
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Offline ineedalife999

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Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
« Reply #39 on: 02/16/2009 10:45 PM »
Any reason for the one day slip?
“We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket.” -George Carlin

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